Headshop Owner's E-petition, Legitimising Legal Highs, is Sponsored by the Home Office

May 07, 2013, 16:25 ET from Angelus Foundation

LONDON, May 7, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --

Founder of the drugs charity, Angelus, Maryon Stewart, described the Home Office as "delinquent" in sponsoring a legal high supplier's e-petition. The Home Office have discretion to reject any e-petition under various conditions but chose to sponsor one by UK Skunkworks.

The company in question, UK Skunkworks, is the largest supplier of legal psychoactive drugs in southern Britain with 15 shops. It sells products with known harms such as Benzo Fury (stimulant) and Clockwork Orange (synthetic cannabis).

Angelus is campaigning for new laws to stop the trade in legal highs on the high street. Angelus met with Drug Minister, Jeremy Browne earlier this year as well as officials at No.10 but none would commit to any legal changes to stop the booming business of selling legal highs to young people.

Last year, a new drug was discovered on average every six days (European Drug Monitoring Centre figures). The untested drugs can be bought very easily from hundreds of high street headshops and online. Hospitalisations from legal highs have increased by 358 percent.

The founder of Angelus, Maryon Stewart, said: "This is a truly shocking case of Departmental delinquency. These officials must realise that these companies are selling powerful, harmful and untested drugs. And making millions from young people. Last year most of these firms were selling Methoxetamine (MXE) which is now a Class B drug linked to several deaths. The Home Office is legitimising these shady businesses.

"Angelus put up its own e-petition last year calling for a national programme on drugs education. It was rejected by the Department for Education. The company UK Skunkworks, claims they are "legitimate" but if that is the case why do their products all say, 'Not for Human Consumption'? We want the Government to take firm action against these companies, like Ireland and Portugal, not lend these people credibility they don't deserve."

Notes to editors:

1) Maryon Stewart lost her daughter to GBL and established the Angelus Foundation. It is the only drugs 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) In July, Scotland's largest health board in Glasgow reported a 358% rise in the number of young people needing emergency treatment after taking legal highs. It many cases, patients only survived after "urgent specialist treatment".

3) The E-petition can be found at http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/46534.

Departments have discretion to reject any e-petition.

The Terms and Conditions are:

"The main reasons why your e-petition could be rejected are:

  • there's already an e-petition on the same issue
  • it contains confidential, libellous, false or defamatory statements
  • it contains offensive, joke or nonsense content
  • the issue is not the responsibility of the government
  • it's about honours or appointments
  • it does not include a request for action"

4) Daniel Lloyd, 25, and Hugo Wenn, 17, both drowned in 2012 after taking the now-banned drug methoxetamine. Three teenagers were hospitalised on 21 April after taking the legal high Clockwork Orange.

SOURCE Angelus Foundation