A UKIP councillor who revealed he used to take drugs is calling for a crackdown on the sale of legal highs.
Cllr Paul Godier, of Portsmouth’s Charles Dickens ward, stressed at a meeting about the dangers of taking unclassified substances.
He confessed he had ‘tested out’ legal highs before and knew friends and family members who had dabbled with them.
‘I have tested out these legal highs and they are dangerous,’ Cllr Godier said.
‘I have heard from people who use them nowadays and they say the only reason they take them is because they are legal.
‘We can’t be ignoring the fact that kids are using legal highs because the government is allowing them to.’
Cllr Godier said he had taken drugs in his earlier years but had not taken anything for 14 years, spurred on by the birth of his son.
Cllr Godier, along with Tory Councillor Hannah Hockaday, called for council leader Cllr Donna Jones to write to ministers urging them to do more to ensure legal highs are better regulated.
As reported, 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.
Cllr Hockaday said she knew someone who had been admitted to hospital three times as a result of taking them.
‘I feel strongly about the subject and how dangerous the chemicals and compounds are that go into these drugs,’ she said.
‘Often the substances are made legally to mimic illegal substances such as cannabis and ecstasy.’
National statistics show there have been 97 deaths in the last three years caused by legal highs and 700,000 15 to 24-year-olds had experimented.
Cllr Godier told The News he didn’t think residents would judge him.
‘It’s part of society,’ he said.
‘You can’t pretend you are something you’re not.
‘You need to be truthful about who you are.
‘I’m a dad now first and foremost. I have friends and family who dabble – name one person who doesn’t know a friend or family member who does.’
Cllr Jones said she will do what she can to address the situation, and believes people with mental health issues in the city need to be protected to ensure they don’t turn to legal highs to help cope.