Following the news at the end of May that students at Lancaster University had been hospitalized following them taking so called ‘legal highs’ on the university campus, I am pleased to give some more information about the Psychoactive Substances Bill going through Parliament.
The Bill comes after extensive action has already been taken with more than 500 legal highs banned since 2010.
Sadly though this previous action did not stop the students at the university being able to take legal highs in May and it is therefore imperative that tougher legislation comes forward. Experts in the field have been asked to come up with a framework for the country to see whether an outright ban of all of these substances would work in the UK and when the experts reported back the evidence was considered and the Government is now committed to an outright ban.
The Bill has just completed its way in the House of Lords and it set to be debated in the Commons in the autumn.
The Bill makes the sale and distribution of ‘legal highs’ illegal, which means supplying these would then lead to a maximum prison sentence of seven years. The Bill will also give police seize and destroy powers for the substances.
Most importantly, this act changes the perception that these substances are ‘legal’ they are safe to use recreationally. This is not the case: they can cause paranoia, psychosis seizures and even fatalities. In fact in 2013 there were 60 deaths involving new psychoactive substances.
The students at Lancaster University were lucky they were not more seriously injured by the substances, however, the bill when passed should mean the substances are not as easy to access and that people will realise these substances are not safe and they will not try to experiment with them.