Larne councillor calls for action on legal highs

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Larne Lough Councillor Paul Reid says he will be calling on the new government to address the increasing problem of legal highs.

The DUP Councillor spoke out after being approached by concerned parents in the Larne area who asked him to take action over the ongoing problem of legal highs locally.

Cllr Reid commented: “Although the term ‘legal high’ may seem and be perceived to be legal and safe, the user cannot be sure what substance is being used in these legal highs and the effects it could have on their health. In most cases the chemicals contained within legal highs are not for human consumption.”

Drugs legislation is currently controlled by Westminster, with legal highs being banned on a case-by-case basis. However, manufacturers often circumvent the law by altering the molecular structure of the drug. Cllr Reid is calling for all such substances to be banned.

Refering to the recent suspected legal high-related death of a Newtownards teenager, he stated: “I am fully aware that this a Westminster issue, however the loophole in the law must be addressed to prevent any more devastating and tragic deaths, such as the young man of seventeen years of age who was addicted to legal highs.

“No parent should have to lose a child to such abuse and addiction. Over the past few weeks many parents have spoken to me about the ongoing problem of legal highs here in Larne. They are asking for this to be immediately addressed and legislation to be passed to stop the misery that legal highs bring to the individual using them and their parents.”

Earlier this year, substance misuse support group Preventing Addiction Larne launched a petition to ban legal highs. It is available to sign at www.change.org.