Legal highs need tackled
Sinn Féin Health spokesperson Maeve McLaughlin has welcomed the debate today calling for legislation to deal with so-called legal highs.
Ms McLaughlin said,
"Ireland has the highest use of so-called legal highs in Europe. Many of these substances are toxic, unfortunately they can kill, and have tragically taken the lives of too many so far.
“It is clear that action is needed urgently to remove these toxic substances from sale to protect young people and new legislation needs to be brought in to block the sale of these products.
“The problem in the North is that once a substance has been identified and removed all that needs to be done is for one ingredient to be changed and it can go back on to the market.
“I believe a similar system to that deployed in the South of Ireland where the producer must obtain a license before the product is passed to be sold on the open market would help address the problem associated with these products.
“While the legislation is ultimately a reserved matter it is important the Minister for Justice David Ford presses the British Government to bring forward legislation as soon as possible. Therefore Sinn Féin will be supporting the motion today in the Assembly.
“Several councils including Belfast and Larne have brought forward motions opposing the sale of legal highs. I would encourage all other councils to bring forward similar motions in an effort to combat the threat posed by these substances.”