New legislation on so-called 'legal highs' comes into force today (26 May).
The Psychoactive Substances Act will provide a blanket ban on the production, supply and importation of new psychoactive substances (NPS). This legislation will fundamentally change the way forces tackle psychoactive substances and will make new psychoactive substances that appear on the market illegal quicker than ever before.
Detective Inspector Andy Bennett of Sussex Police said; “This new legislation is a very positive step forward. Police are ready to enforce the new law and tackle the harm caused in communities by the sale and use of drugs. As with all controlled or illegal drugs, our approach will be practical, proportionate and based on the individual circumstances.
“We are committed to reducing the harm caused by all drugs but we cannot do this alone; prevention, education and health service all have a crucial role to play.
"'Head shop' owners and other suppliers have been told what the Act means for them, and have been given time to adapt to the new law and stop the trading of these potentially dangerous drugs. Police will work with local authority Trading Standards to educate users and potential users about the new law and the risks of taking unknown substances."
A variety of options exist in enforcing this legislation including prohibition notices, premises notices, prohibition orders and premises orders, which allow police or local authorities to require people to stop stocking, selling or supplying psychoactive substances.
Officers have been given powers to stop and search people, vehicles and vessels, enter and search premises in accordance with a warrant, and to seize and destroy psychoactive substances.
Andy Bennett added: “Police, Trading Standards, border force and other organisations have been working hard to tackle the supply of controlled and non-controlled NPS but a blanket ban on new psychoactive substances will make it simpler to deal with those drugs that are unsafe but may not yet be controlled. It will also make it easier to tackle so called 'legal highs' which may contain mixtures including already illegal drugs.
"We encourage the public to let us know, either direct buy firstname.lastname@example.org or 101, or by contacting the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 if they believe shops or establishments continue to supply psychoactive substances once the Act commences on 26 May.”