Legal highs could face total ban as part of crackdown, says Theresa May

Home secretary Theresa May during her visit to The News at Lakeside on Friday. Picture: Paul Jacobs (143059-4)
Home secretary Theresa May during her visit to The News at Lakeside on Friday. Picture: Paul Jacobs (143059-4)
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THE sale of legal highs could be banned completely as part of a government crackdown on the substances.

It comes after parents and councillors in Portsmouth highlighted the dangers the drug was having on society and said laws against shops selling them should be toughened up.

Home secretary Theresa May revealed to The News that a blanket ban on selling legal highs – already in place in Ireland – is one of two key changes being looked at.

The other is banning the use of a substance based on the impact it has on the brain rather than its chemical make-up, as they are then tweaked to ensure they stay legal.

As reported, the government is reviewing the law surrounding legal highs and an expert panel has been tasked with coming up with solutions.

‘We realise there is more that needs to be done.’ Mrs May said.

‘A couple of proposals have come out and we are looking to work on a blanket ban based on the sort Ireland has to make enforcement easier.

‘We are looking at quite an innovative way of dealing with the substances.

‘The problem is we can ban a substance and the people making it slightly tweak the compound, and because we have banned that compound the next set is not covered by that ban, so we are looking at a different approach based on the impact they have on the brain, rather than the make-up of the substance.’

Ukip Councillor Paul Godier, who has campaigned on the issue and admitted trying legal highs before, welcomed the news.

‘Obviously it’s great news the government is looking at these things and it seems like it is being proactive,’ he said.

‘We have had feedback recently suggesting there were motions going forward looking at what the options are. I just hope it’s not small talk, because there have been various times when drugs have been brought up and then forgotten about after an election.’

Mrs May added: ‘We saw this was an issue when we came into government and took early intervention to deal with it through introducing temporary banning orders so that it was possible to act more quickly against these substances, rather than wait for the full expert opinion first.’