Notts prepares for blanket ban on 'legal highs'

Nottinghamshire County Council Trading Standards seized 900 packs of 'new drugs' or 'legal highs' last year. A blanket criminalisation of the dangerous substances comes into effect on May 26.
Nottinghamshire County Council Trading Standards seized 900 packs of 'new drugs' or 'legal highs' last year. A blanket criminalisation of the dangerous substances comes into effect on May 26.

Nottinghamshire trading standards is preparing for the introduction of new laws making all psychoactive substances illegal.

The blanket ban on mind-altering drugs changes the way authorities chase narcotics and comes into force on May 26, and excludes alcohol, tobacco and caffeine.

Until now police and lawmakers had to keep adding specific substances to the list of banned drugs, which allowed newly developed drugs to slip through as 'legal highs'.

Now trading standards officers, community safety and public health experts are working to prepare for the ban all New Psychoactive Substances (NPSs), and have formed a working group with partners including the police, health and voluntary organisations to address issues arising from the use of NPSs across the county, and implementation of the new legislation is part of that work.

The County Council said the new laws were passed to tackle the substances, and the legislation will criminalise the production, distribution, sale and supply of psychoactive substances.

Offenders face up to seven years in prison.

Last year, more than 900 packs of untested drugs were seized by the county council’s Trading Standards team with names including ‘Go-Caine’, ‘Herbal Haze’ and ‘Atomic Bomb’.

A Nottinghamshire County Council spokesperson said New Psychoactive Substances or 'new drugs' have also been wrongly referred to as ‘legal highs’ and have been associated with seizures, kidney damage and death.

Community Safety chief, Councillor Glynn Gilfoyle said: “We welcome news that this legislation is coming into force soon and are working with Nottinghamshire Police and other local community safety partners to prepare for the new legislation. We are also already using existing legislation currently in place to tackle the sale of NPS.

“We are concerned that people are putting their lives at risk by consuming these untested chemicals that unscrupulous traders continue to sell.”

The County Council’s Community Safety team was also consulted by Mansfield District Council earlier this year and backed its plans to introduce a Public Space Protection Order in June which would ban the use and sale of ‘new drugs’ in Mansfield.

The new working group is linked to the wider multi-agency Substance Misuse Group across Nottinghamshire looking at a wide range of issues around drugs and alcohol, and whose members include the police and county council and various partners.

The County Council also commission New Directions Nottinghamshire, a service to support people with all drug and alcohol issues across the county. The service can be contacted on 0115 896 0798 or visit www.changegrowlive.org.