A mother whose son is thought to have died after taking a legal high has welcomed a court ruling empowering local councils to confiscate such substances.
Karen Audino’s 20-year-old son Jimmy Guichard suffered a heart attack and severe brain damage within hours of taking a legal high.
He is believed to have bought the drug from a shop called ‘UK Skunkworks’ in Kent.
Officials in the county used trading standards laws to seize hundreds of legal highs in July, which were declared unsafe at a magistrate’s court hearing last week.
This means that rather than waiting for national law changes, local councils may be able to use trading standards powers to crack down on the sale of legal highs.
Audino said: “I’m absolutely thrilled this has happened. The shops aren’t going to be able to display what is in them because they don’t know.”
Shops are legally required to know what is contained in products they are selling, alongside letting the public know any risks associated with them.
Legal highs are often sold with a warning that they are not fit for being eaten, but trading standards officers told magistrates that shops were aware the substances were being bought for human consumption.
The Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) think-tank has called for police to have new powers to close shops selling legal highs.
CSJ’s Director Christian Guy said: “‘Legal highs’ are destroying lives – it is time to get tough on those making a living out of selling them.
“The UK is already the addicted man of Europe with some of the worst rates of heroin, crack and alcohol abuse – tackling ‘legal highs’ needs to be a priority.”