Families are suffering from the destructive impact of ‘legal highs’, Welsh councillors have said, as they called for a blanket ban on the drugs.
Swansea Council said the products need to be ‘ultimately eliminated’, as they have such negative impacts on young people and communities.
Currently the UK Government bans legal highs on a case-by-case basis, unlike in Ireland where a universal ban exists.
Earlier this month David Cameron said he favoured “tougher powers” to combat legal highs.
At a council meeting, Swansea councillors backed a motion calling for legislation which would allow councils and police to prosecute suppliers of all types of the drugs.
Council leader Rob Stewart said the police have few powers to curb the sale of legal highs, which are also called New Psychoactive Substances.
The Swansea councillors’ motion, debated on 4 November, stated: “This Council recognises the destructive impact these substances can have on the families of impressionable children and adolescents who are targeted by these companies to consume these highly addictive, psychoactive products.
“This can in turn cause extreme cases of anti-social behaviour which has a detrimental impact in our communities and on our High Streets with trade being curtailed as shoppers feel intimidated by the unpredictable behaviour of youths under the influence of these toxic products.”
Speaking for the Westminster Government, Crime Prevention Minister Lynne Featherstone said: “We are looking into the feasibility of a blanket ban on new psychoactive substances across the whole of the UK, clamping down on the suppliers and head shops rather than the users”.
“This approach had a dramatic impact on the availability of legal highs when introduced in Ireland, but we must ensure it would work here too”, she added.
Earlier this year, a newsagent in Scotland stopped selling legal highs after a boycott from local residents.
When a shop in Musselburgh started selling a legal high blamed for at least one death and numerous hospital admissions, locals took action.
They put up signs reading: “Boycott this shop. They sell legal highs. They wreck, damage and kill young people’s lives”, prompting the shop’s bosses to withdraw the drugs.