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"12 month ban on new 'Legal Highs' should be implemented here" Sinn Féin

26 August, 2010 - by Michelle O'Neill

Sinn Féin Health Spokesperson, Michelle O'Neill MLA (Mid-Ulster) has welcomed an announcement by the British Home Office that any newly developed 'legal highs' will be temporarily banned for 12 months and called for a similar ban to be implemented here.

Michelle O'Neill said:

"This 12 month ban will give the medical experts an opportunity to examine the effects of any new non-medicinal psychoactive substances or ‘legal highs’ as they are called before a decision is made on whether the new drug should be permanently banned.

"The continued widespread availability of 'legal highs' is something that needs tackled urgently. In recent times, we experienced an unbelievable situation, where these substances were being freely distributed and there was nothing the PSNI or Garda could do to stop the drug dealers as no laws were being broken.

"Sinn Féin recognises the increasing concerns of communities in relation to shops that sell these 'Legal Highs' and the potentially harmful effects of these substances. I am therefore calling on the two administrations in Belfast and Dublin, in a co-ordinated way, to take the urgent action which is required to address this problem by implementing on an island-wide basis similar restrictions to those proposed in England. While other proposals have been proposed I feel that they are inadequate.

"The way in which drugs are manufactured is changing and those charged with creating legislation need to enable the PSNI and an Garda Síochána to deal with this problem in a robust and proactive manner. A 12 month ban on commercial production and supply of any new substances will hopefully stop them getting a foothold in the market and should enable the PSNI and Garda to tackle the increasing problem posed by drug abuse in our society.

"Many 'legal highs' including, mephedrone, have already been banned, but this system of a 12 month ban would allow for a faster response when substances come on the market.

"Of course the best protection against these substances is common sense. I would appeal to anyone tempted to experiment with 'legal highs' to use their common sense which should dictate that when you do not know what it is or what is in it, then don't experiment with it? CRÍOCH

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