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Government to Introduce Blanket Ban on Legal Highs

May 29, 2015
Public Health

pillsMinisters are set to publish draft legislation that will outlaw so-called ‘legal highs’, prohibiting their production, distribution, sale and supply under the Psychoactive Substances Bill.

The new law will apply to “any substance intended for human consumption that is capable of producing a psychoactive effect”, but will exclude alcohol, tobacco and caffeine. There will also be exemptions for food and medical products, but the new measures will include the sale of nitrous oxide for human use.

Minister of State for Policing Mike Penning said; “Young people who take these substances are taking exceptional risks with their health and those who profit from their sale have a complete disregard for the potential consequences. That’s why we are targeting the suppliers. This landmark bill will fundamentally change the way we tackle new psychoactive substances, and put an end to the game of cat and mouse in which new drugs appear on the market more quickly than government can identify and ban them.”

Currently, officials are required to assess new legal highs individually before they can be outlawed. Despite banning over 500 substances, the system has struggled to cope as an average of two new ‘legal highs’ are identified in Europe every week. The new bill will work across the whole of the United Kingdom, covering supply from UK based websites. Penalties will include a maximum prison sentence of seven years.