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Monday, 06 July 2015

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Cumbria police chief supports tough stance on laws

OPTING out of regulations that would see only the most dangerous legal highs restricted under a new EU law has been backed by south Cumbria’s top cop.

Superintendent Mark Pannone has said he backs any legislation that reduces the availability of legal highs, substances he has previously said will kill a young person in Barrow if action isn’t taken.

It has been reported that Home Office minister Norman Baker plans to pull out of the EU measures which claim 20 per cent of the substances, often sold as plant food and “not for human consumption”, have legitimate commercial uses.

At present the home secretary can issue a temporary banning order, which makes it illegal to supply but not possess the new substance for 12 months while the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs investigates how harmful it is and whether the ban should be made permanent.

Mr Baker said the UK is ahead of other countries in combating what he called the “reckless trade in so-called legal highs, which has tragically claimed the lives of far too many young people”.

Supt Pannone, of Cumbria police, said: “Any action taken by government that reduces the harm caused by so-called legal highs is welcomed.

“I support any new legislation which reduces the accessibility of these drugs and increases awareness of their danger.”

Last month a report was released that identified a number of targets in a bid to crack down on the substances which claimed the lives of 52 people in 2012.

New legal highs have been appearing at the rate of more than one a week and are readily available online.

The new substances are outpacing attempts to regulate their use and at present substances can only be temporarily banned.

A government report has conceded changes to the law need to be made.

The Evening Mail is running a campaign for better education and tighter controls on legal highs.

Visit www.epetitions.direct .gov.uk/petitions/52459 to find out more or to sign the petition.

To date more than 200 people have signed it.

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