The Local Government Association (LGA) and several councils across the UK have called for a change in the law to ensure that legal highs can no longer be sold in shops.
It is thought that the best way to protect young people from falling victim to seemingly innocent highs is to adopt a similar approach to the one that Ireland has taken. Instead of banning drugs on a case-by-case basis, the country has banned all brain altering drugs with the exception of a few including alcohol and tobacco.
The problem with banning products on a case-by-case basis - something the UK currently does - is that when something is banned, the makers simply change the chemical compound slightly and then they can legally sell it in the shops once again.
One of the biggest concerns surrounding legal highs is the increase in the number of deaths amongst users. In 2009 26 people died from taking such substances but just four years later this figure had doubled to 60 deaths in 2013.
Youngsters wrongly assume that just because these substances are legal that they must be safe. The truth is however that you can never be sure what you have bought or taken and the effect it will have on you.
Chairman of the LGA’s Safer and Stronger Communities Board, Councillor Ann Lucas commented:
“Legal high shops are becoming endemic to our high streets which is why we are calling on the government to introduce robust and rigorous new laws to tackle them. The sooner we put these so-called headshops out of business for good, the better. A key priority is educating and informing younger people about the dangers and risks of these drugs and councils play a pivotal role in this.”
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