Huge momentum has been growing against the scourge of so-called legal highs.
Politicians, campaigners, police and medics have spoken out against the dangers of the lethal substances.
The News’ own campaign has exposed this through the stories of distraught families left picking up the pieces when the drugs’ lethal potential wreaks havoc, or when anti-social behaviour linked to use of such drugs damages lives.
Legislation banning their production or sale is well developed in parliament and is due to come into force later this year. But senior coroner David Horsley’s outspoken intervention about their dangers serves as a timely reminder.
Mr Horsley – the man who conducts inquests into the deaths of people in our area – has a unique perspective on this issue.
And he warns that over four years there have been more legal highs mentioned in his inquests.
He accurately portrays the current problem with the drugs when he says: ‘It’s been described to me as a game of “whack the rabbit” – as soon as you hit one another one pops up.’ Chemists can simply change the make-up to avoid prohibition.
So when this problem is removed by the new law making all legal highs illegal, there is one issue left. And that is educating people of the dangers.
As Mr Horsley says: ‘You’re playing with something deadly.’
So it’s important that when someone such as Mr Horsley speaks out that his voice is not dismissed as simply stating the now-established status quo.
Instead of heralding the new law as the end of the problem – and despite some arguing it is too broad – we will continue to bang the drum against these deadly chemicals.