by prestwichfocus on 25 September, 2015
At the last meeting of Bury’s Full Council, my Lib Dem colleague, Councillor Mary D’Albert asked the Council’s representative on the Greater Manchester Police and Crime Panel for an update on what we can do to address the abuse of so-called ‘legal highs’.
The full answer is below, which hopefully gives us all important information on the work that the local police, and our local council’s are doing to address this issue.
We know this is an issue that people might be worried about, and in particular if these poorly regulated items are easily available. The issue has been raised at recent meetings with the Police in Prestwich, with people concerned about local use and also the proximity of such a large event like Parklife in the summer.
Mary asked the Leader of the Council if he would in particular work with school head teachers to ensure that schools are addressing the issue both in terms of education and also preventing any supply in schools. This was agreed.
If people are worried about ‘Legal Highs’there is more information on the drugs advice website ‘Talk to Frank’.
Here is the full response from the Police and Crime Panel Rep:
In recent months, the PCC Tony Lloyd has supported a Greater Manchester wide crackdown on legal highs.
Greater Manchester Police, trading Standards and other partners joined forces for a day action to target the sellers of New Psychoactive Substances (NPS), which are also known as ‘legal highs’.
Operation Ramsey as the day of action was named was the first of its kind for GMP and tackles the growing concerns regarding NPSs. GMP have also produced two documents as part of their crackdown. One to support operation Ramsay, and the other is to be used as an awareness raising tool for professionals working with Young People.
Over 150 officers and partners from across Greater Manchester visited more than 100 premises as well as visiting areas associated with the use of NPSs.
It is extremely difficult to control NPSs using existing drugs legislation and new versions of substances develop at a fast rate in an attempt to avoid current controls. As a result of this, new policies to target these substances have been introduced, including ‘temporary class drug orders’ and the use of alternative legislation.
The government is currently exploring introducing a new law that would see a ‘blanket ban’ on legal highs. The law which is currently going through Parliament will prohibit the production, distribution, sale and supply of legal highs or new psychoactive substances, with offenders facing a maximum penalty of seven years.
GM Drug & Alcohol Leads are currently exploring a joint approach to NPSs and are looking to adopt a GM ‘Early Warning System’ to which partnerships have already signed up. Partnerships are also planning to host a series of workshop events aimed at raising awareness amongst professionals and the public.
NPSs have the same or similar effects as drugs such as cocaine or ecstasy for example, but are not controlled under the Misuse of Drugs Act.
Side effects can include heart palpitations, vomiting, dizziness, fainting, panic attacks and psychosis although specific effects are not always known In many cases, they are designed to mimic class A drugs, but are structurally different, enough to avoid them being classified as illegal substances.1 Comment