What’s being done about legal highs?
PARLIAMENTARIANS yesterday slammed the state for dragging its feet over banning so-called legal highs available across the island and even in kiosks.
The issue was discussed before the House Crime Committee, with DISY deputy Tasos Mitsopoulos presenting a satchel of ‘Ivory Wave’ – sold as bath salts for €50.
“I happened to be present among young pupils who used these substances experiencing the exact symptoms [associated with a cocaine high]… of euphoria and delirium,” Mitsopoulos told the committee.
He wondered why the state has not nothing about it since these substances have been imported into the island for the past year “and other European countries have immediately banned [their] availability”.
Committee chairman Yiannakis Thoma said the delay in banning these substances was unacceptable.
“While there were promises by state officials that a banning order would be swiftly processed … so far the procedure has not gone ahead,” Thoma said.
DISY deputy Ionas Nicolaou echoed Thoma, adding deputies have received threats – which he described as not serious – from importers of such products aiming in preventing them from dealing with such issues.
DIKO deputy Stelios Ieronymides was circumspect about elevating the issue since it could prompt youths to try the substances.
With the same logic the state should ban cough syrups, glues and other material which could be used as drug substitutes, Ieronymides said.
Drug Squad Superintendent Stelios Sergides said most of these products contain synthetic substances like JWH, which is considered addictive and its use has been banned.
THC Pharma, a specialist pharmaceutical laboratory commissioned by municipal authorities in the German city of Frankfurt, reportedly found varying quantities of JWH-018 in packages of Spice – a so-called legal high that is smoked.
JWH-018 has now been banned in at least four EU countries – Germany, Austria, Netherlands and Switzerland.
Another product sold on various websites – banned in numerous European countries – is Salvia. It is used “as part of spiritual ceremonies and traditional healing” and “has become a powerful tool for soul searching and exploration of consciousness.”
Possession and sale of Salvia has been banned in various countries including Australia, Belgium, Denmark, Italy and Sweden.
A person needs a doctor’s prescription to use it in Estonia, Finland, Iceland and Norway while Spain and Russia also ban its sale.
By George Psyllides Published on January 28, 2010