A ban on “legal highs” has been welcomed by Cambridgeshire Police and Crime Commissioner Sir Graham Bright.
New legislation for a blanket ban on new psychoactive substances (NPS) has been introduced, criminalising the trade in such substances. However personal possession will not be illegal.
The announcement was made in the Queen’s Speech on Wednesday at the state opening of Parliament. The new legislation will come under the existing Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 and will mean anyone caught selling newly designed drugs that alter mood, perception or consciousness could face up to seven years imprisonment.
Commenting on the new law, Sir Graham said: “Legal highs are of huge concern to those responsible for keeping people safe from harm. This new legislation sends a clear signal to those who supply so-called designer drugs that there are now very severe consequences for their actions.
“There have been a worrying number of deaths nationally related to these drugs. Every death by substance misuse is one too many and this ban will help to protect those misguided thrill seekers – many of them young people – who might otherwise have been tempted to experiment with untested psychoactive drugs.
“The closure of existing loopholes will help to safeguard Cambridgeshire residents from the risks posed by these potentially dangerous substances.”
According to figures from the Centre for Social Justice, 97 deaths were caused by ‘legal highs’ in 2012.
Under the bill, police would have the power to seize and destroy NPSs, to search people, homes and vehicles and to use a search warrant in specific cases.