Goodbye legal highs? Wigan crackdown on sale of substances imitating banned drugs as death toll rises

Legal highs could potentially be a thing of the past as Wigan Council are cracking down on retailers selling them to children.

Novel psychoactive substances, also known as legal highs, bypass drug legislation by not having the same chemical make-up as illegal drugs, despite mimicking their effects.

And so far approximately 70 people have died from legal highs in the UK with the number of young people being admitted to hospital because of them sharply rising.

Councillor Kevin Anderson, cabinet member for Wigan Council, said: “We have taken all the necessary steps in order to control the sale of so called legal highs to young people in the borough.

“Ideally we want to see the sale of these dangerous products stopped completely however, protecting the young and vulnerable is always a priority.”

Wigan council has joined forces with Greater Manchester Police and have visited shops that sell legal highs.

Stores have been given advice that will prevent the potentially lethal drugs getting into the hands of minors.

Undercover tests will be run in the stores to ensure that shopkeepers are complying with the law.

Many legal highs on the market are untested, uncontrolled and unsafe.

Mr Anderson added: “When you learn of the risks posed by these sorts of substances you can understand why it is so important to keep them from reaching children, there are serious health risks associated with them and too often taking these substances ends in a trip to hospital.”

Only last week a Manchester man died after smoking a legal high called Eclipse.

The 44-year-old collapsed in the Northern Quarter shortly after inhaling the herbal incense before he was taken to hospital where he suffered a heart attack and passed away six days later.

Detective Sergeant Mark Astbury said at the time: “Eclipse and other such herbal incense, while often marketed as not for human consumption, are surreptitiously sold by retailers and frequently consumed by users as so-called legal highs.

“Put simply, do not smoke herbal incense. It is not for direct inhalation and you do not know what effect it will have on your wellbeing.”

Although there is no law against buying these substances, legal highs are not licensed for human use and if ingested can cause anxiety, hallucinations, seizures, heart complications, coma or death.

Image courtesy of ashton, with thanks

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