NORTHERN IRELAND - The orders, granted by the Hon Mr Justice Deeny in the High Court, have repercussions for the sale of these substances in Northern Ireland and beyond. The orders prevent a number of named individuals and a limited company from selling so-called legal highs from premises on Gresham Street in the Smithfield area and anywhere else in Northern Ireland.
Legal highs or 'Novel Psychoactive Substances' are packaged to mimic illegal drugs with slang names such as 'Magic Dragon' and 'Doob' and are commonly consumed for their intoxicant effect. The council seized these substances from premises on Gresham Street in November last year and was permitted by the courts to destroy them in February. The council said that despite this, the premises continued to sell legal highs.
A council spokesperson said: "We are delighted with the decision of the Court. These people have been restricted from supplying Novel Psychoactive Substances. "The decision today reflects that these substances don't meet the necessary safety requirements.
They continued: "Just because they are not banned under drug laws does not mean that that these substances are safe; they are a risk to a user's health because their production is not regulated and the consumer can't be certain as to what is in them. They have potentially harmful effects, ranging from psychosis to death. "The Council welcomes the involvement of the Attorney General in this application."
Belfast City Council is also in the process of prosecuting the people involved in the business on Gresham Street for breaching safety standards by selling these products. DUP Councillor Gavin Robinson has welcomed the action taken. 'This is a very significant step in the efforts against those who sell these dangerous substances," he said.
"These substances may not fall foul of drug laws, but they present a significant danger and are potentially lethal. A huge amount has been achieved through increased public awareness, but legal enforcement is also necessary.
"I have written to the Health Minister previously and received an assurance that the Department of Health locally will take the issue forward with the Home Office. "These steps will obviously be taken forward at both Stormont and Westminster, but from a Council perspective this demonstrates a highly pro-active approach and that we do not want to see any more of our citizens lives destroyed through these dangerous drugs."
Alliance Councillor Tom Ekin, who chairs the Council's Licensing Committee also welcomed the court ruling.
"The lives of many people have been wrecked by these legal highs. I hope that this ruling will play an important role in banning their sale across Northern Ireland," Cllr Ekin said.
U TV/Nov. 14, 2014
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