West Yorkshire police have launched a campaign to target ‘legal highs’ after an investigation by Leeds Student exposed their sale by dozens of Leeds traders.
They have announced that shops that sell ‘legal highs’, or New Psychoactive Substances (NPSs), will be come under increased scrutiny to ensure they are compliant with the legislation that controls their sale, as well as warning people of the risks associated with ‘legal highs’ and their harmful side effects.
Leeds Student investigated local traders in November, and found that many were selling ‘legal’ highs under names such as ‘Green Beans’, ‘Pink Panthers’ and ‘Black Mamba’.
When questioned over the safety of the products, all but one of the traders told this paper the substances were safe to consume. However, Police have warned that they are dangerous and may contain illegal substances which could land users with a serious criminal record.
Chief Superintendent Paul Money of West Yorkshire Police said:
“Just because they can be bought legally, it doesn’t mean they are safe for people to take. Experts tell us that most of these synthetic compounds have no real research or testing behind them…There doesn’t appear to be any thought given to the short or long-term impact on people’s health, which is why we feel it is important to take a firm stand now.”
Despite their dangers, legislation may not allow police to confiscate or prevent legal highs being sold – businesses selling legal highs are not breaking the law, provided they don’t sell to under 18s or inform customers of their intoxicating effects if consumed.
Chief Supt Money added:
“There is a real responsibility on the shops selling these products to make sure that they are operating within the regulations and are doing all they can to limit any risks to people’s health… We appreciate that this is a fast-moving industry which the law is still catching up with. ”
The campaign has been announced in the week that Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has called for a Royal Commission to look at current drugs legislation. The call has, however, been rejected by the Prime Minister.