FRESH calls have been made for the government to tighten up regulation of legal highs.
Members of Portsmouth’s Ukip and Conservative groups want more to be done to ensure people are protected from the effects of such substances.
A review has been commissioned by crime prevention minister Norman Baker into how the government can toughen up its stance on legal highs – also known as new psychoactive substances.
Ukip Councillor Paul Godier and Tory Cllr Hannah Hockaday are requesting at a meeting of all city council members on Tuesday that leader, Cllr Donna Jones, writes to the government to step up the campaign.
Cllr Hockaday said: ‘I am worried about legal highs in general.
‘There has been a rise over the past few years in the misuse of them and the effects they are having on people.
‘There have been a number of deaths reported in some areas.’
It comes after ideas for how legal highs could be tackled were submitted to the government following a meeting arranged by Portsmouth North Penny Mordaunt with community leaders in the city.
It was also noted shops should be licensed to ensure they have greater responsibility over the sale of legal highs.
Cllr Jones said she would back the campaign ‘100 per cent’ and would take necessary action. She said: ‘The problem with legal highs is they can have such a devastating impact on people.
‘As a local authority we are trying as best we can to make sure the government is aware of this situation.’
Last month, the government made NBOMe substances, previously marketed as legal highs, Class A instead.
It means supplying NBOMe now carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment and those in possession of the drug could face seven years in jail.
Mr Baker said at the time of the crackdown: ‘The coalition government is determined to clamp down on the reckless trade, in so-called “legal highs”, which has claimed the lives of far too many young people in our country.’
Other former legal highs, including benzofurans, have now been made illegal.