Police issue new warning as law changes over '˜legal highs'

Over the last few weeks police officers have been attending Head Shops believed to be selling Novel Psychoactive Substances (NPS) '“ often known as legal highs - and advising them about new legislation coming into force in April.

Tuesday, 8th March 2016, 1:56 pm
Updated Tuesday, 8th March 2016, 3:01 pm
Legal highs.

The Psychoactive Substances Act is due to be implemented in early April. The Act will make it an offence to produce, supply or offer to supply any psychoactive substance if the substance is likely to be used for its psychoactive effects. Put simply any substance will be illegal to produce or supply if it is likely to be used to get high. Under the Psychoactive Substances Act perpetrators face up to seven year imprisonment and/or a fine.

The move has been welcomed by the Humberside Strategic Drugs Group which has serious concerns about the impact NPS on users and the community. The priority for the group is to ensure they remove as much of these illegal compounds from the public domain as possible.

To this end Humberside Police conducted visits to retailers who may be selling these substances making them aware of the Psychoactive Substances Act and urging them to dispose of any of the products they currently sell which may be illegal under the new legislation.

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Superintendent Dave Houchin, Chair of the Humberside Strategic Drugs Group said: “The term ‘legal highs’ is interpreted by some as meaning safe. Nothing could be further from the truth and making substances illegal that were previously sold legitimately reflects widely held concerns about long term health effects of these substances. My priority is public safety and Humberside Police are providing retailers with the opportunity to safely dispose of outstanding stock. If anyone is aware of shops selling products illegally, please let us know.”

Stewart Atkinson, Joint Commissioning Manager at North Lincolnshire Substance Misuse Team said: "The new legislation re-enforces the fact that these drugs are very powerful. So even if people are careful and think they know what they are doing, they can still cause themselves some harm. We are strongly urging people to be mindful that there are new drugs coming onto the market all the time which may affect them in different and previously unseen ways. We do not know the long term effects of using this group of drug. The best thing to do to protect yourself from the risks ' is simple: don't take them. If you’re determined to try Novel Psychoactive Substances ‘legal highs' think very carefully about the risks."

During the visits officers also made retailers aware of a large number of NPS products that were made illegal as a temporary class drug under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 on 27 November 2015.

Humberside Police and Trading Standards have already executed a search warrant and made an arrest under the temporary class drug in the Force area and will be seeking opportunities to enforce the new legislation if dealers continue to sell products.

Anyone with information about people selling NPS products should call Humberside Police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously 0800 555 111.

Health facts:

• Individuals have died as a result of taking Novel Psychoactive Substances (Legal Highs) due to current or unknown health concerns, taking contaminated and/or unknown substances (due to these products are unregulated and un tested)

• Some of the other problems with Novel Psychoactive Substances, include Confusion, anger, feeling messed up. Losing control, making rash decisions including arguing and fighting. Trouble with family and friends. Trouble with the police.

• Do not take any NPS substances if you are pregnant.