Over the past decade, there has been a substantial increase in the consumption of Legal Highs particularly amongst younger people for whom these products, also known as New Psychoactive substances, have been more readily available. The Internet and “head shops” have provided the distraction centres of these products.
The new law which came in on 26th May does not ban the use of these products but does make it illegal to import or supply them.
What are the legal highs?
They come in four main categories
- stimulants, such as Charley Sheen or Ching (Similar to cocaine)
- ‘downers’ or sedatives, such as Etizolam (Similar to Valium)
- psychedelics or hallucinogens, such as Pink Panthers (Similar to Ecstasy)
- synthetic cannabinoids, such as Magic Dragon (Similar to Cannabis)
The following are an exception from the legislation:
- Controlled drugs (within the meaning of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971);
- Medicinal products;
- Nicotine and tobacco products;
- Caffeine; and
The following activities are also an exception to the Prohibition
- Healthcare activity
- Approved research
Is it an offence to possess a New Psychoactive substance (legal highs)
No, the law does not prohibit the use or possession of NPS, unless it is in a prison, where they are illegal.
So what can I be guilty of?
It is now against the law to supply or offer to supply legal highs. If you’re in possession of a large quantity, import or export them you are committing an offence. these offences are punishable by a term of 7 years imprisonment or an unlimited fine.
- You didn’t know it was a psychoactive substance.
- You didn’t intend to produce a psychoactive substance.
- You didn’t intend to consume it for its psychoactive effects nor were you reckless as to whether it is likely to be consumed by another person for psychoactive effects
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