Campaigners ‘happy’ with legal high ban plans

PUBLISHED: 07:00 05 June 2015

Sophie Beck with her ' Ban Legal Highs' Facebook page.

Sophie Beck with her ' Ban Legal Highs' Facebook page.

Archant

ANTI-LEGAL high campaigners in Weston are celebrating after the Government announced plans to have the substances banned.

But a drug treatment charity based in the Boulevard is warning that legislation alone will not be enough to address the harm caused by the drugs.

The Government announced a new Psychoactive Substances Bill in the Queen’s speech last week.

It says the bill will make it an offence to produce, supply, possess with intent to supply or import or export any substance intended for human consumption which is capable of producing a psychoactive effect.

In February, Weston mother-of-two Sophie Beck nearly died after inhaling a legal high drug she thought was a cigarette.

Following her ordeal, in which her heart stopped three times, she launched a campaign to have the drugs outlawed.

She said: “I was overwhelmed when I heard the news. I couldn’t believe it.

“We have been educating people about legal highs and teaching kids to say ‘no’.

“I’m really happy at how the public have come together to 
get the word out.”

A spokesman for the drug treatment charity Addaction said clarity on the sale of NPS (new psychoactive substances) was welcome.

They said: “However, we mustn’t kid ourselves that this legislation is enough to address the harm caused by these substances.

“Any regulatory measures must be accompanied by a renewed focus on education, support, advice and specialist treatment.

“Addaction services have seen a marked increase in the numbers of people seeking help for these substances in recent years – people who are exposing themselves to damage to their physical or mental health through overdose, blood-borne viruses and infections. Thankfully we have expert workers who can help.

“National reporting indicates that NPS are largely used by young people so early intervention is all important. At Addaction, we work to deliver this through our young people services like the 18225 programme in Weston.”

Weston Town Councillor James Clayton supported Ms Beck’s campaign,

He said: “It is a step in the right direction and it’s about time the Government recognised the dangers of these drugs.”

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