Legal high ban to come into force as incidents surge

A blanket ban on legal highs will come into force within weeks, as police incidents involving their use surge.

The Government has confirmed that its Psychoactive Substances Act will commence on 26 May.

The Act will outlaw “any substance which is capable of producing a psychoactive effect in a person who consumes it”, with some exceptions, including alcohol and caffeine.

Sentencing

Under the new legislation, legal high dealers could face up to seven years in prison, while people found in possession of legal highs will face up to two years.

Police will also have access to new powers to search for, seize and destroy legal highs.

According to data gathered by the BBC, police logs recorded 6,230 incidents involving legal highs between 2015 and 2016.

This represents a 5,512 per cent increase on the 111 incidents recorded mentioning legal highs between 2011 and 2012.

Surge

Until now legal highs have been banned on a case-by-case basis. However, manufacturers are often able to get around the law by adjusting the chemical composition of the drugs.

Last month a spokesman for the Home Office said: “The landmark psychoactive substances act will fundamentally change the way we tackle these drugs and put an end to unscrupulous suppliers profiting from their trade.”

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