East Antrim Ulster Unionist Party MLA Roy Beggs has welcomed news that a blanket ban on new psychoactive substances, that were known as “legal highs”, has come into force across the UK. Laws criminalising the production, distribution, sale and supply of new psychoactive substances came into effect from midnight.
The new Psychoactive Substances Act will now mean that offenders who break the law will face up to seven years in prison. Police are also given extra powers in relation to shutting down head shops. The former loop hole in UK law was being exploited by designer drug manufacturers and dealers.
Mr Beggs said:
“A blanket ban on what were “legal highs” is something that I have actively campaigned for locally along with local East Antrim constituents. I had also lobbied the Westminster Health Minister on this reserved matter. With these psychoactive substances now included in a blanket ban, “head shop” purchases will no longer be possible and these dangerous drugs will no longer be perceived by some as legal or safe.
“The challenge remains to help educate everyone in the local community of the dangers of using psychoactive substances, other illegal drugs or indeed of misusing prescribed medicines and to identify those who continue to profit at the expense and the misfortune of others.
“I would hope that the numbers of people using these now illegal highs will significantly decrease in the coming weeks, months and years. Through my work in the East Antrim constituency, I have seen the disastrous and devastating consequences of taking psychoactive substances, and any progress like this which makes it harder to source the drugs should be welcomed by all.”