LONDON, December 2, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --
Angelus, UK's leading legal highs charity, has welcomed this evening's debate on controls on headshops as, "achingly over due."
Clause (56NA) in the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Police Bill proposed by the Opposition would have the effect of targeting the sale of "synthetic, psychoactive and intoxicating substances" commonly known as legal highs. It expected the Government will oppose the proposed law.
The new law would work by Trading Standards applying to a Court for a 'Synthetic Psychoactive Product Order' against any shop identified as selling legal highs. If they continued to sell these substances they would be guilty of a criminal offence, punishable by six months imprisonment or £5,000 fine.
Last year, in England and Wales, there were 52 deaths from legal highs, compared to 29 the previous year, and a further 47 in Scotland. The UN Office and Drugs and Crime last month estimated the numbers of young people in UK (aged 15-24) who have taken a legal high as 670,000 - making UK the highest consumers in Europe. As well as loss of life, these substances can cause short and long-term psychosis, paranoia, deep depression, body overheating (hyperthermia) and seizures.
The founder of Angelus, Maryon Stewart said: "This Parliamentary debate on headshops is achingly over due. Ministers can ban legal highs faster than ever but the market will always stay ahead. We need a new approach, which stops the sale of all these untested substances. The headshop sector is growing all the time and the pain to families, who have been damaged by their products, is spreading."
Notes to Editors:
1) The author and broadcaster Maryon Stewart lost her 21-year-old daughter, Hester, to GBL in 2009 and established the Angelus Foundation. It is the only charity dedicated to combating legal highs and club drugs and launched a national campaign in October including the website http://www.whynotfindout.org. There is also a site for families http://www.angelusfoundation.com.
2) The Lords Committee Stage of the Anti Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill on 2 December includes consideration of a New Clause (56NA) whose objective is to stop the trade in high street sales of legal highs. It is an Opposition amendment.
3) The wording of the Clause (56NA) is as follows:
'(1) Any person supplying, or offering to supply, a synthetic psychoactive substance, including but not restricted to-
(a) a powder;
(b) a pill;
(c) a liquid; or
(d) a herbal substance with the appearance of cannabis,
which is likely to be consumed by a person for the purpose of causing intoxication will be subject to Synthetic Psychoactive Product Order prohibiting its supply.
(2) Any subsequent breach of that Order will be an offence.
(3) A person guilty of an offence under this section shall be liable on summary conviction to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or to a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale.
(4) This section does not apply to alcohol, tobacco, or any drug currently scheduled under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 or the Medicines Act 1968
If you wish to interview Maryon Stewart, please contact:
Aimee Gentry at the Angelus Foundation on:
The Angelus Foundation is a UK registered charity
Registered in England and Wales no. 1139830
SOURCE Angelus Foundation