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Key Points to Remember About the UK's Legal High Ban, on the Cusp of Its Enaction

  1. Beenthere2Hippie
    New legislation is being put in place to tackle the problem of so-called legal highs across the country. Its called the Psychoactive Substances Act and will ban any production or supply and importation or exportation for human consumption of these potentially dangerous drugs, linked to 144 deaths in the UK in 2014.

    Minister for Preventing Abuse, Exploitation and Crime Karen Bradley said: "Psychoactive substances shatter lives and we owe it to all those who have lost loved ones to do everything we can to eradicate this abhorrent trade. This act will bring to an end the open sale on our high streets of these potentially harmful drugs and deliver new powers for law enforcement to tackle this issue at every level in communities, at our borders, on UK websites and in our prisons. The message is clear - so-called "legal highs" are not safe."

    The new act will make it an offence to sell so-called legal highs on the high street and online. Here's everything you need to know about it:

    • The new legislation is called the Psychoactive Substances Act and it will aim to protect people by banning any production, supply, importation or exportation for human consumption of these potentially dangerous drugs.

    • The term psychoactive refers to any substance that affects the mind but this act excludes legitimate substances such as food, alchol, tobacco, nicotine, caffeine and medical products. It also excludes controlled drugs which are already regulated by the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.

    • The new legislation comes into force from May 26 and will provide a blanket ban on all so-called "legal highs" that have been linked to the deaths of 144 people in the UK back in 2014.

    • The UK will be the first country in the world to put in place a rigorous system of testing to demonstrate that a substance is capable of having psychoactive effect, providing evidence to support civil action and prosecutions.

    • It will provide a range of criminal and civil sanctions including new powers for police and tough sentences of up to 7 years for offenders.

    • Sanctions will include up to 7 years in prison for the supply, production, possession with intent to supply, importation or exportation of psychoactive substance for human consumption. It will include up to 2 years in prison for possessing a psychoactive substance in a custodial institution.

    • It will also grant police the power to shut down head shops and online dealers in the UK with up to 2 years in prison for those who fail to comply.

    • It will also give police the powers to seize and destroy any psychoactive substances, search people, premises and vehicles and to search premises with a warrant if necessary.

    • Since 2010, the government has already taken action against so-called "legal highs" having banned more than 500 substances since 2010 under existing legislation but the new act will go even further.

    • The government will continue to take action across prevention, treatment and recovery to reduce harmful drug use and is working with experts including the advisory council on the misuse of drugs to develop new strategy.

    Legal highs have consistently been linked to both medical and criminal issues in the community as these recent stories from earlier this year show.

    By Katie Feehan - The Essex Chronicle/May 22, 2016
    Photos: 1-Vice; 2-the Telegraph
    Newshawk Crew

    Author Bio

    BT2H is a retired news editor and writer from the NYC area who, for health reasons, retired to a southern US state early, and where BT2H continues to write and to post drug-related news to DF.


  1. ianzombie
    I am pretty sure that the shop shown in the photo is actually one that was in Dublin, Ireland and not the UK.
  2. Beenthere2Hippie
  3. Beenthere2Hippie
    The UK's Legal High Ban Begins May 26th--Three Days From Now

    [IMGL=white]https://drugs-forum.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=50273&stc=1&d=1464027764[/IMGL]This week legal highs will be banned once and for all. The drugs, many of which mimic the effects of illegal substances like cannabis and ecstasy, are to be taken off the shelf because of concerns about how they affect users’ health and behaviour.

    Last week five men collapsed in Rochdale after taking legal highs which go by the name of ‘Annihilation’ and ‘Cherry Bombs’. Both of these are synthetic forms of cannabis, with similar psychoactive properties. One man was left in a medically induced coma in hospital, leading greater Manchester Police to issue a warning over the substances.

    The blanket ban on legal highs in England and Wales will come into force at the end of this week, on May 26th under the Psychoactive Substances Act. It was due to be brought into effect last month, but was delayed because of debate about how exactly ‘psychoactive’ should be defined and whether or not this legislation was practical, i.e. whether police would realistically be able to enforce it.

    Psychoactive substances are now defined by the government as ‘anything capable of producing a psychoactive effect’. Everyday ‘legitimate psychoactive’ substances which include things you have in your kitchen at home like tea, coffee and alcohol will be exempt from the bank. Poppers (AKA alkyl nitrite), after much debate, will also be exempt. However, there will also be a focus on the sale of solvent-based glues, correction fluids, marker pens, aerosols, anti-freeze and nitrous oxide (aka laughing gas) which are regularly sold in high street shops but can be abused.

    Under the Act possession of formerly ‘legal’, now illegal, highs will not be a criminal offence (unless you’re in a prison). However, dealing and selling these substances will be, punishable by up to 7 years in prison.

    In a Home Office guide for retailers they define the effective of ‘psychoactive substances’ are including ‘hallucinations, changes in alertness, perception of time and space, mood or empathy with others and drowsiness.’

    Critics of the new legislation are warning that this ban could push sales underground, meaning that vulnerable people could be exploited by dealers who will now fill the gap left by legal providers. Others also criticise the exemption of alcohol and state that it is more dangerous than other the substances named in the new legislation. Accprding to the Office for National Statistics there were 8,697 alcohol-related deaths registered in the UK in 2014. That's around , 14.3 deaths for every 100,000 people.

    According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, 670,000 15-24 year-olds tried legal highs at least once in 2013. The number of related deaths in England and Northern Ireland rose from 10 in 2009 to 68 in 2012.

    The Debrief/May 23, 2016
    Newshawk Crew
  4. FlyingHigher
    Thanks for sharing these articles BT2H.

    IMO the biggest problem with this legislation is that it covers everything. It might be intended to ban dangerous RCs but it also removes drugs like Salvia Divinorum, Kanna, Kratom, and a whole host of other ethnobotanicals, including mild ones like Damiana. Many of these have a long history of use and are safer than alcohol or even tobacco products (in terms of long term harm).

    The ban also prevents the a large amount of nootropics being used, many which have proven to be very safe and effective.

    Like was the case with Ireland, this ban is more likely to push people's drug use towards the black market, or to more dangerous substances. Existing substances will likely be sold illegally and with a reduced confidence and safety than before the ban. It is also possible that users of previously legal and safer substances (not including many RCs) may turn to more harmful substances.

    The incidence of various forms of harm from Isopropyl Nitrite are quite widespread, ranging from low blood-pressure seizures to permanent eye damage, this seems to apply only to this variant, the now banned Amyl/Butyl Nitrites haven't seen such reports. Yet, poppers will remain legal - the government citing that it does not qualify as psychoactive. I think therefore that harm reduction is likely not the the only or even main agenda in this legislation; this is a setback for safety and progressive and fair drug policy which impacts a huge number of people.
  5. Beenthere2Hippie
    I sure don't want to be a party pooper, but I do not see this UK legal high ban, the product of the the UK government (and back fully by their Dear Queen), working any better than Prohibition did in the US back in the 1920s, '30s. I surmise its enactment will result in lots of people being unnecessarily arrested and put through the legal hokey pokey that goes along with such laws.The ban may hold for a few years, but in the long run societies that attempt to dictate moral code rarely, if ever, succeed in doing anything more than forcing the behavior they're offended by underground.

    It's just a matter of time till the whole ban is dropped and things go back to what they were before the ban. The whole project , in my opinion, is poorly organized and is seriously lacking in backing of many of the UK's citizens. That adds up to such a ban becoming a problematic law, which will be subject to a lot of backlash from the British public.

    What's a shame, though, is all the people who this law will hurt and effect badly, and all the lives such a ridiculous law will cause pain and alienation before it's taken from the books or altered to better serve the problems that develop around the use of legal highs; that would be much more of service to the British people.

    I cannot see anything positive coming from this bad law--at all.

    Thank you for sharing your analysis, FlyingHigher!
  6. Baba Blacksheep
    There is sensible policy and mental policy; an entire blanket ban is mental policy. Regulatory policy would at least show there is thought and sense in the moving tide of time and change.

    Well in absolute protest to the further restrictions of personal freedom for now and the future.
    I will now give up every conceivable thing I can possibly think I might enjoy and contribute to UK tax.

    There will be no alcohol; gave that up today and this policy only fortifies my resolve here, gave-up cigarettes last year, convenience foods I am no fan of and especially as they carry 20% VAT, will give up coffee and tea when I finish my last bit, sugar, sugar substitutes, confectionary.

    Will dig my garden and grow good vegetables and barter with others that bring on wholesome foods. Avoid supermarkets and will go back to 'basics' when I am residing here.

    Boy there will be some interesting statistics in time.

    Now I know why I choose Portugal over a pre-Magna Carter England, I could see this kind of thing in the post. I am constantly reminded not to knock lovely England, but really, I ask?

    Hope this is in essence of the original post and topic.

    Have already given up watching crap on T.V.

    Thinking of becoming a four legged woolly creature that can be rounded up and have absolutely no idea at all on whether the GB should stay in Europe as I think that there will only be England on it's own as Scotland and Wales will vote independency in any referendum.
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