Uni powerless over legal highs

A University figure has called for a zero-tolerance approach to legal highs after it was found there is no legislation to protect students from their use on campus.

Residential staff are currently discussing a potential ban on legal highs to be written into University accommodation contracts. However, The Gryphon understands that concerns have been raised about how legal highs would be prohibited, with some substances commercially available.

Speaking at a University conference last month, Nick Berry of West Yorkshire Police said, ‘You’re not allowed to light candles in your room, but having a few boxes of nitrous oxide delivered, that’s fine’.

The University’s Police Liaison Officer PC Matt Guy told this newspaper, ‘Legally, I can’t do anything about students taking legal highs. Police have no power of confiscation. Lots of legal highs do contain elements of illegal drugs so personally, I do confiscate. But I would support a zero-tolerance approach on campus’.

The news comes after a police pledge to clamp down on head shops which sell legal highs, with four stores in Leeds shut down since 2012.

Psychoactive substances or ‘legal highs’ contain chemical substances which mimic the effects of illegal drugs, but have not yet been controlled under UK law. It is estimated that one new substance is introduced into the legal highs market every week.

DC Jamie Hudson told The Gryphon, ‘West Yorkshire Police remains concerned that psychoactive substances known as ‘legal highs’ are sold openly in the city and across West Yorkshire. This makes some people, particularly the young and vulnerable, feel they can take them without risk. Essentially, we want to dispel the myth that it is safe to take legal highs’.

A University spokesperson said, ‘We are concerned to ensure that our students understand the risks associated with taking both illegal drugs and so-called ‘legal highs’. Our online help@leeds service, developed in partnership between LUU and the University, provides information and links to the various services which can help students in difficulties’.

Charlotte Mason


Photo courtesy of: lovethatmag.com

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