Taskforce to take on legal highs

METHODS to tackle deadly "legal highs" will be discussed by a new Scottish expert taskforce.

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The group is to be set up to look at ways of stopping the sale and supply of the untested highs, which mimic the effects of illegal drugs,

It follows a series of legal high incidents in Glasgow, including when a teenage boy was rushed to hospital on three consecutive days after taking toxic substances.

The panel will review the powers available to crack down on new psychoactive substances, which have been implicated in dozens of deaths in Scotland in recent years.

Police, Trading Standards, and the Scottish Government are expected to be involved in discussions.

Community Safety Minister Roseanna Cunningham said: "Drugs legislation and the legality of new psychoactive substances, or "legal highs", are the responsibility of Westminster. We in Scotland do not have the power to ban them.

"But we are determined to do all we can to restrict access to them, and educate people about the inherent dangers to minimise any further loss of life.

"It is important we have a clear understanding of the powers currently available to us over these substances and that they are used to maximum effect. That is why the establishment of this expert group is so important."

The Evening Times has previously reported that Glasgow shopkeepers who cash in on the legal high craze are being targeted by police. Detectives have visited shops across the city centre where the substances are sold.

Retailers are permitted to sell them by labelling them as "plant food" or "bath salts". But shops are banned from selling the potentially lethal products to youngsters.

An announcement on the make up of the new group is expected later.

rebecca.gray@ eveningtimes.co.uk

Drugs

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