‘You are dicing with death when you take psychoactive substances’ – council chiefs warn as new laws are put in place to protect the public from so-called ‘legal highs’.
Nottinghamshire County Council’s Trading Standards, Community Safety and Public Health teams have welcomed the new legislation.
The Psychoactive Substances Act 2016 will make it an offence to produce, supply, offer to supply, possess with intent to supply, import or export psychoactive substances or any substance intended for human consumption that is capable of producing a psychoactive effect. The maximum sentence will be seven years’ imprisonment.
A psychoactive substance is defined in the new law as a drug which is capable of affecting a person’s mental functioning or emotional state, but is not currently controlled as a class A, B or C drug.
Councillor Glynn Gilfoyle, chairman for community safety, said: “These new drugs can kill and there have been cases elsewhere in the UK where people have died. In many cases, new psychoactive substances are also packaged with a warning saying ‘not for human consumption’.
“If someone was presented with a decaying slice of meat with maggots in it, that would not be fit for human consumption - so why do people take the risk with these new drugs when they don’t know what chemicals are in them and what effect it will have on them both short term and long term?”
The new act warns people that sharing drugs with friends means you are putting them at risk and danger and the changes in the law mean you could face legal consequences for giving or selling any new drugs to anyone.
The new drugs can be highly addictive and have many associated risks including negative consequences on people’s mental health as well as causing kidney disease and other long term conditions.
In 2015 Nottinghamshire County Council’s Trading Standards team seized more than 900 packs of untested drugs with names including ‘Go-Caine’, ‘Herbal Haze’ and ‘Atomic Bomb’.
The council’s Trading Standards, Community Safety and Public Health teams are working with police, health and voluntary organisations to address issues arising from the use of ‘legal highs’.