Opponents blast controversial plans to sell ‘legal highs’ in licensed shops

Daily Echo: Opponents blast controversial plans to sell ‘legal highs’ in licensed shops Opponents blast controversial plans to sell ‘legal highs’ in licensed shops

THEY are the deadly drugs which have already claimed the lives of young people in Hampshire.

But so-called “legal highs” could soon be on the shelves of even more of the county’s shops.

Last night, leading figures supporting the Daily Echo’s “Say No to Legal Highs” campaign blasted controversial plans paving the way for the toxic drugs to be sold in specially licensed high street stores as “ludicrous”

– in the wake of high-profile attempts to ban them.

Liberal Democrat Home Office Minister Norman Baker proposes licensing the so-called “head shops”

to sell the drugs to over-18s.

Regulations would be similar to those imposed on sex shops, with vendors tightly controlled by trading standards departments, forced to have blacked-out windows and children banned from entering.

The drugs, which mimic the effects of illegal drugs such as heroin and ecstasy, have already killed people in Hampshire and left others severely ill.

Victims include Adam Hunt, 18, of Southampton, who died in hospital after consuming alpha methyltrptamine (AMT), and trainee doctor Doug Ferguson, 19, of Chandler’s Ford, who died after taking legal highs in 2012.

Southampton Itchen MP John Denham slammed the plans as “barmy”.

He said they flew in the face of the Daily Echo campaign and added: “Legal highs are dangerous and this completely muddies the message of all the work we are trying to do to warn people.

“Sex shops are licensed because they cause offence but they have never killed anyone.”

He said that the Government should focus its efforts on imposing laws to hold sellers to account when customers fall ill after consuming drugs bought at their stores.

He added: “If you bought meat from the butcher and got Ecoli that butcher would be prosecuted.

“There needs to be a proper system of holding people criminally liable if harm comes to a customer.”

Southampton Test MP Alan Whitehead warned that many include toxic ingredients often sold under false pretences.

He said: “Putting substances that casue a large amount of harm behind a closed door won’t solve the harm they cause.

“It won’t work and needs more thought.”

Hampshire Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Simon Hayes also branded the substances a “serious problem” and added: “The Government and trading standards use every possible legal process to prohibit the sale of these products and to shut these shops down.

“I am gravely concerned that further delays in deciding how to deal with the problem will result in more serious incidents or deaths.”

Mr Baker’s call comes in the wake of a Government review into drug classification aimed at reassessing the hundreds of new drugs flooding the market.

He says that tightly licensing head shops is a way of controlling them and will protect vulnerable youngsters.

He says that his concerns about the drugs have “escalated” and added: “Rather than giving the impression that what they’re selling is harmless, we need to consider whether or not there are messages and ways of dealing with those.”

He added: “We should maybe look at licensing them like sex shops with blacked-out windows and not allowing under-18s in.”

The Daily Echo campaign calls for tougher laws, vendors and sellers to be held to account and tighter controls to stop vulnerable youngsters from being able to buy the products over the counter.

Comments (17)

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6:04am Sat 1 Mar 14

SFC-Matt says...

If they are so dangerous why are they legal?
If they are so dangerous why are they legal? SFC-Matt
  • Score: 0

6:49am Sat 1 Mar 14

Mozzacc says...

SFC-Matt wrote:
If they are so dangerous why are they legal?
Mainly due to the crazy, coddled together laws we have in this country.

Guns are dangerous, cars are dangerous in the wrong hands but they're still legal.
[quote][p][bold]SFC-Matt[/bold] wrote: If they are so dangerous why are they legal?[/p][/quote]Mainly due to the crazy, coddled together laws we have in this country. Guns are dangerous, cars are dangerous in the wrong hands but they're still legal. Mozzacc
  • Score: 0

7:54am Sat 1 Mar 14

SotonGreen says...

This is capitalism if something is legal you can sell it and a regulated shop is better than a free for all. If it is illegal the. You can't sell it and the black market chaos applies.

The MP is being hypocritical by not banning these goods if he thinks they are that bad,
This is capitalism if something is legal you can sell it and a regulated shop is better than a free for all. If it is illegal the. You can't sell it and the black market chaos applies. The MP is being hypocritical by not banning these goods if he thinks they are that bad, SotonGreen
  • Score: -1

8:54am Sat 1 Mar 14

Dai Rear says...

It's actually just the Liberal Democrats , or the SDP, or whatever they're supposed to be "differentiating" themselves from their senior partner in the Coalition. Let us hope the cobbled up party led by Clegg will cease to exist after the General Election
It's actually just the Liberal Democrats , or the SDP, or whatever they're supposed to be "differentiating" themselves from their senior partner in the Coalition. Let us hope the cobbled up party led by Clegg will cease to exist after the General Election Dai Rear
  • Score: 1

9:28am Sat 1 Mar 14

Saintsincethe60s says...

Sorry but I cant see what the problem is, if you use these products for what they're intended then they are safe, if you are stupid enough to swallow them after reading the instructions telling you not to then whose fault is it that you become ill or even die - just saying
Sorry but I cant see what the problem is, if you use these products for what they're intended then they are safe, if you are stupid enough to swallow them after reading the instructions telling you not to then whose fault is it that you become ill or even die - just saying Saintsincethe60s
  • Score: -2

10:19am Sat 1 Mar 14

gilbertratchet says...

Mozzacc wrote:
SFC-Matt wrote:
If they are so dangerous why are they legal?
Mainly due to the crazy, coddled together laws we have in this country.

Guns are dangerous, cars are dangerous in the wrong hands but they're still legal.
It's not that, actually. It's the same reason this placating useless plan won't work: there is no real way to determine what a "drug" is. Unless we say "everything is illegal until someone proves otherwise" there's little that can be done.
[quote][p][bold]Mozzacc[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]SFC-Matt[/bold] wrote: If they are so dangerous why are they legal?[/p][/quote]Mainly due to the crazy, coddled together laws we have in this country. Guns are dangerous, cars are dangerous in the wrong hands but they're still legal.[/p][/quote]It's not that, actually. It's the same reason this placating useless plan won't work: there is no real way to determine what a "drug" is. Unless we say "everything is illegal until someone proves otherwise" there's little that can be done. gilbertratchet
  • Score: 3

10:19am Sat 1 Mar 14

kaido says...

Meanwhile John Denham continues to be partial to the odd pint mindful of the fact that drug kills well over twenty thousand people in the UK each year. Not that I'm saying there's anything wrong with having the odd pint but it's grossly hypocritcal as always from these politicians.
Meanwhile John Denham continues to be partial to the odd pint mindful of the fact that drug kills well over twenty thousand people in the UK each year. Not that I'm saying there's anything wrong with having the odd pint but it's grossly hypocritcal as always from these politicians. kaido
  • Score: 3

10:28am Sat 1 Mar 14

gilbertratchet says...

SFC-Matt wrote:
If they are so dangerous why are they legal?
Because it's virtually impossible to pre-emptively make things illegal before they exist. Define "drug". It pretty much can't be done. The only thing these substances have in common is that they are ingested for fun. If someone wants to say "We're going to make everything that's fun illegal" they're in for a hard time. It's really tricky for the law to encompass *just* these substances. Banning an individual substance is a slow process, and ineffective, because something new comes along almost immediately.

In a funny way, these potentially very dangerous substances have been caused by the fact that the more 'traditional' - for want of a better word -drugs have been illegal. If we all just admit that a certain section of society simply enjoys getting high, and put effort into producing substances that achieved that AND were safe, we'd be better off. But that's not palatable for the pseudo-moral majority for some reason. The pharmaceutical industry is perfectly capable of achieving this, why aren't we financing it?

Every time this comes up, I ask the question "what, other than the dangerous side-effects of existing drugs, is wrong with taking drugs?" and nobody is able to answer without using some variant of the phrase "getting high is for saddos you should be able to enjoy life without it" or "drugs are dangerous end of", one of which is a meaningless moral triteness and the other of which utterly misses the point. Proves beyond all doubt that we as a nation are singularly unable to even discuss the drug problem sensibly, so I fail to see how we can ever solve it.

Debate welcome. The usual insulting nonsense will be ignored. Addendum: I am NOT a drug user myself.
[quote][p][bold]SFC-Matt[/bold] wrote: If they are so dangerous why are they legal?[/p][/quote]Because it's virtually impossible to pre-emptively make things illegal before they exist. Define "drug". It pretty much can't be done. The only thing these substances have in common is that they are ingested for fun. If someone wants to say "We're going to make everything that's fun illegal" they're in for a hard time. It's really tricky for the law to encompass *just* these substances. Banning an individual substance is a slow process, and ineffective, because something new comes along almost immediately. In a funny way, these potentially very dangerous substances have been caused by the fact that the more 'traditional' - for want of a better word -drugs have been illegal. If we all just admit that a certain section of society simply enjoys getting high, and put effort into producing substances that achieved that AND were safe, we'd be better off. But that's not palatable for the pseudo-moral majority for some reason. The pharmaceutical industry is perfectly capable of achieving this, why aren't we financing it? Every time this comes up, I ask the question "what, other than the dangerous side-effects of existing drugs, is wrong with taking drugs?" and nobody is able to answer without using some variant of the phrase "getting high is for saddos you should be able to enjoy life without it" or "drugs are dangerous end of", one of which is a meaningless moral triteness and the other of which utterly misses the point. Proves beyond all doubt that we as a nation are singularly unable to even discuss the drug problem sensibly, so I fail to see how we can ever solve it. Debate welcome. The usual insulting nonsense will be ignored. Addendum: I am NOT a drug user myself. gilbertratchet
  • Score: 4

10:29am Sat 1 Mar 14

gilbertratchet says...

SFC-Matt wrote:
If they are so dangerous why are they legal?
Rather than downvoting this perfectly reasonable question, why not try answering it?
[quote][p][bold]SFC-Matt[/bold] wrote: If they are so dangerous why are they legal?[/p][/quote]Rather than downvoting this perfectly reasonable question, why not try answering it? gilbertratchet
  • Score: 0

11:00am Sat 1 Mar 14

skeptik says...

Always a source of amusement when we here - this lot today. The crime rate has been much higher in the past, drugs were available during the 19th century and the death rate - in the gin palaces and during the days of strong ale where frankly horrendous. Did we stop it or do these occurrences go in cycles with the hopes or otherwise as the economy enriches or impoverishes folk. I suspect with society turning against itself and encouraged to do so, the day will come when intolerance for abusers will surface.
Always a source of amusement when we here - this lot today. The crime rate has been much higher in the past, drugs were available during the 19th century and the death rate - in the gin palaces and during the days of strong ale where frankly horrendous. Did we stop it or do these occurrences go in cycles with the hopes or otherwise as the economy enriches or impoverishes folk. I suspect with society turning against itself and encouraged to do so, the day will come when intolerance for abusers will surface. skeptik
  • Score: 2

2:38pm Sat 1 Mar 14

itsnotjustice says...

i dont agree with these legal highs at all and the fact they are being made in the first place is crazy, BUT , if people are going to use them, its probably best they WERE purchased in regulated shops, where there can be transparancy , and actions if something does go wrong, rather than off the internet where people could be taking anything...

what they do need to do do is tighten the regulations that are allready there, and in the case like previously , where one store was still selling BANNED products ,they should be closed down straight away and people prosecuted.
i dont agree with these legal highs at all and the fact they are being made in the first place is crazy, BUT , if people are going to use them, its probably best they WERE purchased in regulated shops, where there can be transparancy , and actions if something does go wrong, rather than off the internet where people could be taking anything... what they do need to do do is tighten the regulations that are allready there, and in the case like previously , where one store was still selling BANNED products ,they should be closed down straight away and people prosecuted. itsnotjustice
  • Score: 1

2:40pm Sat 1 Mar 14

Bassett-Mikey says...

Without provoking violence, there is nothing stopping people going to these shops and making it very obvious they do not want this going on in their locality. Also, do not vote for any councillor that has been a party to allowing it to go on. Use your democratic power to stop these ***** councillors who basically ignore what the ratepayers want. Southampton does not need any more encouragement to become more sleazy!!
Without provoking violence, there is nothing stopping people going to these shops and making it very obvious they do not want this going on in their locality. Also, do not vote for any councillor that has been a party to allowing it to go on. Use your democratic power to stop these ***** councillors who basically ignore what the ratepayers want. Southampton does not need any more encouragement to become more sleazy!! Bassett-Mikey
  • Score: -1

10:09am Sun 2 Mar 14

Jackie@jackieporter.co.uk says...

SFC-Matt wrote:
If they are so dangerous why are they legal?
This proposal (if it is as you report it) is absolutely terrible. The word 'legal' is only there because the drug manufacturers create variations of illegal drugs so they can't be caught selling them. They haven't been tested so can't be officially declared illegal. But they are very dangerous. As the Chairman of Trustees of a youth charity- Street Reach- in Winchester, I know that our staff spend a lot of their time warning young people about the dangers of these drugs- and now the Govt are suggesting that they can be sold on the High Street!
I want everyone to understand that the name of these drugs is wrong- they should be called 'untested'- not 'legal'.
They are being manufactured by drugs barons who just don't want to get caught peddling class A, B drugs- need I say more? I'll be writing to Norman Baker today to express my anger over this.
[quote][p][bold]SFC-Matt[/bold] wrote: If they are so dangerous why are they legal?[/p][/quote]This proposal (if it is as you report it) is absolutely terrible. The word 'legal' is only there because the drug manufacturers create variations of illegal drugs so they can't be caught selling them. They haven't been tested so can't be officially declared illegal. But they are very dangerous. As the Chairman of Trustees of a youth charity- Street Reach- in Winchester, I know that our staff spend a lot of their time warning young people about the dangers of these drugs- and now the Govt are suggesting that they can be sold on the High Street! I want everyone to understand that the name of these drugs is wrong- they should be called 'untested'- not 'legal'. They are being manufactured by drugs barons who just don't want to get caught peddling class A, B drugs- need I say more? I'll be writing to Norman Baker today to express my anger over this. Jackie@jackieporter.co.uk
  • Score: -1

10:24am Sun 2 Mar 14

Frank28 says...

There are always risks associated with mind-altering drugs. There should be no 'legal highs'. Instead, try living a clean and wholesome life, and remain in control of it.
There are always risks associated with mind-altering drugs. There should be no 'legal highs'. Instead, try living a clean and wholesome life, and remain in control of it. Frank28
  • Score: 0

3:48pm Sun 2 Mar 14

Charlie Bucket says...

Frank28 wrote:
There are always risks associated with mind-altering drugs. There should be no 'legal highs'. Instead, try living a clean and wholesome life, and remain in control of it.
What if we had mind-altering drugs that had been proven to be perfectly safe?
[quote][p][bold]Frank28[/bold] wrote: There are always risks associated with mind-altering drugs. There should be no 'legal highs'. Instead, try living a clean and wholesome life, and remain in control of it.[/p][/quote]What if we had mind-altering drugs that had been proven to be perfectly safe? Charlie Bucket
  • Score: 1

3:49pm Sun 2 Mar 14

Charlie Bucket says...

Jackie@jackieporter.
co.uk
wrote:
SFC-Matt wrote:
If they are so dangerous why are they legal?
This proposal (if it is as you report it) is absolutely terrible. The word 'legal' is only there because the drug manufacturers create variations of illegal drugs so they can't be caught selling them. They haven't been tested so can't be officially declared illegal. But they are very dangerous. As the Chairman of Trustees of a youth charity- Street Reach- in Winchester, I know that our staff spend a lot of their time warning young people about the dangers of these drugs- and now the Govt are suggesting that they can be sold on the High Street!
I want everyone to understand that the name of these drugs is wrong- they should be called 'untested'- not 'legal'.
They are being manufactured by drugs barons who just don't want to get caught peddling class A, B drugs- need I say more? I'll be writing to Norman Baker today to express my anger over this.
Poorly informed post I'm afraid. You've proven they're all dangerous? how?
[quote][p][bold]Jackie@jackieporter. co.uk[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]SFC-Matt[/bold] wrote: If they are so dangerous why are they legal?[/p][/quote]This proposal (if it is as you report it) is absolutely terrible. The word 'legal' is only there because the drug manufacturers create variations of illegal drugs so they can't be caught selling them. They haven't been tested so can't be officially declared illegal. But they are very dangerous. As the Chairman of Trustees of a youth charity- Street Reach- in Winchester, I know that our staff spend a lot of their time warning young people about the dangers of these drugs- and now the Govt are suggesting that they can be sold on the High Street! I want everyone to understand that the name of these drugs is wrong- they should be called 'untested'- not 'legal'. They are being manufactured by drugs barons who just don't want to get caught peddling class A, B drugs- need I say more? I'll be writing to Norman Baker today to express my anger over this.[/p][/quote]Poorly informed post I'm afraid. You've proven they're all dangerous? how? Charlie Bucket
  • Score: 1

4:21pm Sun 2 Mar 14

Jackie@jackieporter.co.uk says...

I have checked with Norman Baker-and in fact he said nothing of the sort. You can read a more accurate report at http://www.independe
nt.co.uk/news/uk/pol
itics/drugs-minister
-norman-baker-sounds
-the-alarm-over-new-
legal-highs-mimickin
g-the-effects-of-her
oin-9158302.html
On contacting Norman, he told me that the Times had reported inaccurately, but all other papers had picked up the correct sense of the story. He knew of the Times article, and took appropriate action, - but I would have expected the Echo to check the details?
Maxwell- I would like you to issue a clear correction on your website-and in your paper too please. To label Norman Baker MP, a respected politician, with these views is totally unacceptable.
I'm glad that I checked- as I thought- his views on illegal highs are the same as mine- they are wrongly named-and a dangerous way of getting round the law/
I have checked with Norman Baker-and in fact he said nothing of the sort. You can read a more accurate report at http://www.independe nt.co.uk/news/uk/pol itics/drugs-minister -norman-baker-sounds -the-alarm-over-new- legal-highs-mimickin g-the-effects-of-her oin-9158302.html On contacting Norman, he told me that the Times had reported inaccurately, but all other papers had picked up the correct sense of the story. He knew of the Times article, and took appropriate action, - but I would have expected the Echo to check the details? Maxwell- I would like you to issue a clear correction on your website-and in your paper too please. To label Norman Baker MP, a respected politician, with these views is totally unacceptable. I'm glad that I checked- as I thought- his views on illegal highs are the same as mine- they are wrongly named-and a dangerous way of getting round the law/ Jackie@jackieporter.co.uk
  • Score: 0

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