Larne councillors back proposed legal highs ban

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Proposed legislation to tackle the sale of legal highs has been welcomed by Larne councillors.

As outlined in the Queen’s Speech, the UK Government is seeking to ban “any substance intended for human consumption that is capable of producing a psychoactive effect”, apart from specified exemptions such as alcohol, caffeine, tobacco, food and medical products.

Larne Lough DUP Councillor Rev Paul Reid McKeen said: “I am delighted that the loophole will now be closed under the new proposed law and will prohibit the sale of these products.

“Many parents have spoken to me about the devastating effects and potential addictions these legal highs have had on their young people and their families.”

Fellow DUP representative Cllr Gregg McKeen added: “The blanket ban on psychoactive substances will now carry a prison sentence of up to seven years, which is long overdue. These substances have brought nothing but misery and tragedy to the user and their families.”

Ulster Unionist Councillor Mark McKinty also gave his backing to the planned legislation.

He added: “I wrote to Stormont, the Home Office, and the Prime Minister requesting comprehensive and robust action against this blight on our communities.

“Current legislation means each of the ‎ever-increasing new array of psychoactive substances, legal highs, has to be tested and banned individually. I am happy therefore that the Government is proposing to ban all such substances and suppliers of new substances must prove their fitness for human consumption.”