David Cameron is lending his support to Home Office plans to introduce a blanket ban on legal highs.
Speaking during a visit to Cheshire, Mr Cameron said: “I want to see us have tougher powers so that we ban these legal highs.”
The former crime prevention minister Norman Baker said last week that proposals will be developed to give greater powers to tackle the market of these substances.
His announcement came alongside the release of a report by an expert panel, commissioned by the Home Office.
The New Psychoactive Substances Review highlights the current system used in Ireland, where all ‘psychoactive’ substances are banned unless specific exemptions are made.
Baker said: “I am very concerned about the trade in new psychoactive substances.
“The expert panel I commissioned to look at the problem is very clear they present a challenge that cannot be ignored.”
He added, “we will start 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”.
Baker has since resigned as a Home Office minister, in a move reported to be driven by a lack of Government support for his plans to decriminalise illegal drugs.
A mother has released pictures of her dying son as a warning about the dangers of legal highs.
Karen Audino’s 20-year-old son Jimmy Guichard suffered a heart attack and severe brain damage within hours of taking synthetic cannabis – he died the following day.
Karen is now demanding a change in the law to ban legal high shops such as “UK Skunkworks”, where Jimmy is believed to have obtained the substance that killed him.
She said: “Jimmy was fit and healthy, even the doctors said his organs were perfect.”
She added, “these are dangerous substances and selling them on the high street encourages people to try them.
“I just don’t want his death to be a waste, I hope it will help in proving what these legal highs can do and get the laws changed on selling them”, Karen commented.
In California, the father of a teenager who also died after taking synthetic cannabis has released a video recorded at his son’s graveside in order to raise awareness of the dangers of synthetic drugs.
Devin Eckhardt uploaded the video to his late son Connor’s Facebook page, during which he says: “We have to take a stand, we gotta change things. This shouldn’t be”.
“Our lives are forever changed. Don’t let what happened to us happen to you.”
The latest figures show that in the UK there were 60 deaths related to legal highs in 2013, up from 52 in 2012 and 29 in 2011.