Those found producing, supplying and importing ‘legal highs’ face seven years imprisonment under new legislation coming into force this week.
Under the ‘Psychoactive Substances Act 2016’ which comes into force tomorrow, new powers to combat the sale, production and misuse of ‘legal highs’ will be brought into force.
The legislation will make it an offence to produce, supply, and offer to supply, possess with intent to supply, import or export psychoactive substances carrying a maximum sentence of 7 years’ imprisonment.
The Act includes provision for civil sanctions – prohibition notices, premises notices, prohibition orders and premises orders (breach of the two orders will be a criminal offence) – to enable the police and local authorities to adopt a graded response to the supply of NPS in appropriate cases.
The new legislation has been welcomed by North Wales Police lead on the Act DI Arwyn Jones, who noted that too many people have lost their lives or become seriously ill due to legal highs
He said: “This legislation will fundamentally change the way forces tackle Psychoactive Substances and will make new drugs that appear on the market illegal quicker than ever before.
“A blanket ban on new psychoactive substances will make it simpler for law enforcement to deal with those drugs which are potentially unsafe but which may not yet be controlled.
“Whilst a balanced approach will be taken in tackling the supply of Psychoactive Substances in line with the wider Drug Strategy we will remain committed to reducing the harm caused by all drugs but we cannot do this alone; prevention, education and health services all have a crucial role to play.
“It’s also important we engaged with those selling similar products and so officers will be visiting/or will have visited the half dozen or so shops and suppliers in north Wales to offer advice and guidance on the new legislation. When people buy dangerous drugs they will generally have little idea how potent the drug is or what it may contain.”
He added: “Sadly we have seen too many people losing their lives or becoming seriously ill after taking so called “legal highs” under the impression that they are safe. This new legislation is a very positive step forward and provides us with additional tools to tackle this issue and help keep north Wales a safe place”
BCUHB Helplines Manager Janet Roberts also welcomed the new Act, stating: “As a Health Board we see first-hand the damaging effects of these substances.
“I would encourage anybody who’s worried about their personal or someone else’s substance misuse to contact the Wales Drug & Alcohol Helpline, DAN 24/7 which is a free and confidential helpline available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.”
Earlier this month Wrexham Council’s Executive Board also granted new powers to the Head of Environment and Planning additional powers to deal with the sale, production and misuse of ‘legal highs’.
Freephone: 0808 808 2234 Or text DAN to: 81066. You can view more of the services available here.