Drugs amnesty will get le­gal highs off streets

Macclesfield Express - - BEFORE THE BENCH - STU­ART GREER

SELL­ING le­gal highs is now a crim­i­nal of­fence fol­low­ing a shock­ing rise in in­ci­dents in­volv­ing psy­choac­tive sub­stances across the county.

Po­lice are call­ing on stores and sup­pli­ers in Mac­cles­field to sur­ren­der their stock as part of an amnesty.

Re­cent fig­ures re­veal that the num­ber of in­ci­dents linked to le­gal highs rock­eted by al­most 200 per cent in just three years.

Since Thurs­day, May 26, it is il­le­gal to sell or sup­ply any psy­choac­tive sub­stance.

Peo­ple in the town had un­til mid­night on Wed­nes­day, June 1, to dis­pose of th­ese items by with­out fear of pros­e­cu­tion. De­tec­tive chief in­spec­tor Paul Beauchamp said: “In Cheshire we are deal­ing with more in­ci­dents each year that in­volve the use of psy­choac­tive sub­stances.

“Last year nearly 20 per cent of all in­ci­dents re­lat­ing to psy­choac­tive sub­stances in­volved young peo­ple aged 16 years old or younger.

“We have taken the rise in th­ese sub­stances and the harm they are caus­ing se­ri­ously and have al­ready used ex­ist­ing anti-so­cial be­hav­iour leg- is­la­tion to take ac­tion against premises sell­ing them.”

In 2015 the dev­as­tated fam­ily of Elvis Snel­son, 29, from Hand­forth, is­sued a le­gal high warn­ing af­ter he died af­ter tak­ing a le­gal high called acetylfen­tanyl, found to be FIVE times more pow­er­ful than heroin.

Det ch Insp Beauchamp added: “This isn’t about crim­i­nal­is­ing those who use th­ese sub­stances, but aimed at the pro­duc­ers, dis­trib­u­tors and deal­ers.

“Just be­cause they’re known as le­gal highs doesn’t mean to say they are safe, they are lethal.

“They can kill and peo­ple are dic­ing with their life each time they take one.”

Psy­choac­tive sub­stances are of­ten re­ferred to as le­gal highs and used as an um­brella term for prod­ucts that are in­tended to mimic the ef­fects of con­trolled drugs.

The new leg­is­la­tion will change the way forces tackle psy­choac­tive sub­stances and give po­lice the power to shut down shops that are trad­ing in le­gal highs as well as those who im­port the prod­ucts.

Cheshire Po­lice & Crime Com­mis­sioner David Keane said “Much has done much to re­move this scourge from the streets.

Lloyd Images/Land Rover

●● The Duchess of Cam­bridge helm­ing and sail­ing a foil­ing cata­ma­ran along­side Sir Ben Ainslie

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