Health chiefs in Wolverhampton have welcomed a new law banning the sale of so called 'legal highs' which came into force today (Thursday 26 May, 2016).

It makes it illegal to supply or sell New Psychoactive Substances (NPS), or produce, import or export them - with perpetrators potentially facing up to seven years in prison.

The new law relates to any substance intended for human consumption that is capable of producing a psychoactive effect - one which affects a person's mental function or emotional state - with the exception of alcohol, tobacco, nicotine, caffeine and medical products.

It also gives police and other agencies new powers to stop and search people they think are supplying, and seize and destroy NPS where they find them.

Councillor Paul Sweet, the City of Wolverhampton Council's Cabinet Member for Public Health and Wellbeing, said: "We welcome the introduction of this new law banning the sale or supply of New Psychoactive Substances.

"They can cause a significant risk to people's health; anyone who takes one of these products is gambling with their lives and they need to understand how dangerous they can be.

"There has been little or no research into the short or long term risks from human consumption of many of these NPS. They are hugely unpredictable and can have wildly different strengths and effects on people. Users can also quickly become addicted.

"The council, police and our partners are working hard to keep people safe from NPS, and the Wolverhampton Tobacco and Substance Misuse Alliance, comprising the agencies which tackle drug and substance misuse in the city, has made tackling the problems posed by them one of its key priorities.

"As a city we are also committed to helping users and tackling suppliers; indeed in a recent intelligence led Day of Action police and trading standards officers visited four shops and seized 139 containers of NPS.

"We will be ensuring retailers are aware that it is now illegal to sell NPS, and indeed any items of which there are clear doubts about their safety."

Chief Inspector Simon Inglis, force lead for drugs at West Midlands Police, said: "We are ready to enforce the new law and tackle the harm caused in communities by the sale and use of such substances.

"The term 'legal highs' may have given the impression they are safe but there are serious health risks and young and vulnerable people are playing Russian Roulette with their lives.

"Those people who sell these products and hide behind the term 'not for human consumption' will no longer have any place to hide."

Anyone who is worried about drugs and wants help and advice can contact the Wolverhampton drug and alcohol misuse service Recovery Near You, which provides support for both adults and young people, via Type=links;Linkid=3084;Title=Recovery near you;Target=_blank;, or call the FRANK helpline on 0300 123 6600. Alternatively, visit Type=links;Linkid=7224;Title=Talk to Frank;Target=_blank;.

  • released: Thursday 26 May, 2016