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Family glad of legal high drugs review
THE family of Chris Scott, who died in July after consuming a legal high, have welcomed a full-scale Government review into the industry – but say more action is needed.
Chris, 23, may have been unaware of the dangers of alpha-methyltriptamine, commonly known as AMT, when he tried it last summer.
And now following a number of deaths relating to legal highs, the Home Office are leading a review to clamp down on their use, which is due to report next spring.
Mike, 48, Chris’ dad, said it was a step forward, but is urging action.
“I don’t understand why it is going to take them until spring to get it sorted,” he said. “With all the deaths that there have been over the last year, they must have enough evidence to know what is dangerous.”
Mike added he would prefer the American system, where all drugs are automatically banned if they have a similar composition to illegal substances.
“It should be that approach everywhere,” he said. “That is normal practice for prescription drugs, and they are all tested before they go on the market.
“Legal highs are working the other way round. They go straight onto the market and worry about the consequences afterwards.
“People here have been very inventive. If there is just a single molecule difference it is considered a different drug.
“It seems the UK is one of the biggest importers of this stuff. The law here makes it easy for them to get around the loopholes, and we need to get on top of our laws to stop this happening.”
Mike said he felt encouraged by the announcement, and the move had been a long time coming.
“It is good to see that something is finally happening,” he said. “They are not just going for one thing, they are going for the whole lot.
“I would like them to ban the name legal highs. That would instantly stop a lot of people being able to find it and then move into drugs as a whole. The label is so misleading, and it opens these drugs up to the masses.
“It used to be that if you wanted to find drugs you had to know the right person, but now anyone can get their hands on them. It doesn’t matter what is in them or what they might do to each individual person, people will think they are all the same.
“The police cannot crack down on something that is legal, so this is is a positive step forward.”
Norman Baker, crime prevention minister, said: “The coalition government is determined to clamp down on the reckless trade in so-called ‘legal highs’, which has tragically already claimed the lives of far too many young people in our country.
“Despite being marketed as legal alternatives to banned drugs, users cannot be sure of what they contain and the impact they will have on their health. Nor can they even be sure that they are legal.
“Our review will consider how current legislation can be better tailored to enable the police and law enforcement officers to combat this dangerous trade and ensure those involved in breaking the law are brought to justice.”
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