Work to outlaw legal highs must step up says Theresa May

(l-r) Flick Drummond with Theresa May talking to resident Betty Webster. ''Picture: Sarah Standing (150677-3844)
(l-r) Flick Drummond with Theresa May talking to resident Betty Webster. ''Picture: Sarah Standing (150677-3844)

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WE must do more to stop the spread of legal highs and seek to ban them from the streets.

That was the stark message from home secretary Theresa May during a political visit to Portsmouth yesterday.

The message is a step forward in the campaign to see so-called legal highs – psychoactive substances – banned in public spaces and off shop shelves.

Portsmouth City Council is exploring how best it can implement a public space protection order, which could give the authority the ability to hand out fines of up to 
£100 to those caught using them.

The proposal was voted through unanimously at the last meeting of the full council.

Speaking to The News, Mrs May said: ‘I think there are some real issues around legal highs.

‘We took on a preventative strategy and introduced temporary banning orders – 500 substances have been banned.

‘We want to look further.

‘We had an expert panel looking at these and we are looking at a UK-wide ban.

‘It’s something that has already been done in Ireland.

‘It’s something that’s important.

‘I am concerned and we are concerned as a party that there is more that needs to be done.’

Mrs May spoke during a visit arranged by Tory parliamentary candidate for Portsmouth South, Flick Drummond.

The pair, joined by a group of Tory supporters, knocked on doors to get people’s views on the upcoming general election.

Ms Drummond welcomed the government recognising the legal highs situation had to be addressed.

But she said it would be better to concentrate on stopping them being sold in shops before trying to stamp out their use in public.

‘It would be very hard to police,’ she said.

‘In an ideal place, it would be great.

‘Most of these legal highs come in little sachets, but the concept (of banning them in public) is really good.

‘I think it’s great Theresa May recognises more needs to be done.

‘We have seven head shops – and although people have been buying them on the internet, I do not want people buying them in local shops.’