‘Legal highs’ to become illegal from midnight

A NEW law comes into force tonight which means so-called legal highs will no longer be legal to produce, distribute or import.

The new Psychoactive Substances Act 2016 comes in to effect at midnight on Wednesday (May 26). 

Legal highs are psychoactive substances that mimic the effects of illegal drugs such as cannabis, cocaine and heroin but are produced from chemicals that are un-licensed and dangerous to users.

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These substances were dubbed legal highs because the chemical build of them was not illegal and if one chemical became illegal, the ingredients were changed to make them legal again. 

The act states psychoactive means: “A substance produces a psychoactive effect in a person if, by stimulating or depressing the person’s central nervous system, it affects the person’s mental functioning or emotional state.”

Dr Alan Billings the South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner who has been leading on a campaign to raise awareness to the dangers of legal highs said: “In recent years the availability of legal highs or psychoactive substances has caused growing concern.

“Young people in particular assumed that because they were legal they were also harmless and too many have suffered as a result. 

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“This was because no-one ever knew what the chemical substances were in what they were swallowing. 

“This was why we ran a campaign – supported by all our local football teams – to alert people to the dangers and to join with local MPs in urging government action. 

“I am pleased that from May 26 legal highs will become illegal highs. 

“This offers the protection our young people in particular need. 

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“If anyone needs further help or advice I recommend they visit the website at www.ill-legalhighs.co.uk.” 

Anyone caught breaking the law by producing, distributing or importing legal highs could receive a prison sentence for up to seven years.

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