Thursday, June 25, 2015

VSA Headlines - June 2015

If you're interested in contributing to understanding about legal highs and their use, please consider taking part in one of the following surveys:

Open until 30th June "to gain insights from people in England into the range of perceptions and experiences of ‘legal high’ substances".

"Britain’s draft blanket ban on legal highs including laughing gas and poppers threatens to send the trade underground. Share your experiences of buying and taking legal highs" with the Guardian.


The Government's proposed New Psychoactive Substances Bill continues to be debated, with perspectives including:

The new Psychoactive Substances Bill – a quick introduction from the Centre for Public Health blog.

Comment: NPS Bill from Harry Shapiro's blog.

LGA calls for updated laws to tackle 'legal highs': "Councils desperately need new powers to crack-down on the sale of new psychoactive substances which are untested, unpredictable and are linked to a growing number of deaths."

Blanket ban will make it simpler for law enforcement to deal with unsafe drugs: NPCC Lead for New Psychoactive Substances,  Commander Simon Bray, discusses the dangers of so-called 'legal highs' after the UK Government has today published a bill to introduce a blanket ban.

Angelus’ Success in Campaigning to Tackle Open Sale of ‘Legal Highs’: Following an intense six year campaign, the team at the Angelus Foundation welcomes the Government plans to legislate against the sale of new psychoactive substances, which most young people call ‘legal highs’.

Independent trade welcomes ‘legal high’ ban: The independent trade has welcomed moves by the new Conservative government to introduce a blanket ban on the production, distribution, sale and supply of so-called “legal highs”, reports today’s Independent Retail News.

Wirral health chiefs welcome blanket ban on sale of 'legal highs': Wirral health chiefs have welcomed Government legislation banning the sale of so-called 'legal highs'.

Ban legal highs before people die, urges dad of teen rushed to hospital after taking '420'.

Special Report - legal highs in Manchester: [Homeless charity] manager said he welcomed the legal-high ban being brought in by the government.

Psychoactive Substances Bill: What's banned and how are they checked? The government is setting out new drug laws on Friday which seek to ban all psychoactive substances - or drugs which affect the human brain.

What’s wrong with the Psychoactive Substances Bill? All kinds of sensory experiences can affect thinking and impair judgement. Drinking, obviously; the inhalation of cannabis; and perhaps even the sight of a new Home Office bill.

Academy concerns over Psychoactive Substances Bill: The Academy and other research organisations have written to the Home Secretary, Rt Hon Theresa May MP, to highlight concerns over unintended but damaging consequences for medical research of the Psychoactive Substances Bill

Should we ban ‘legal highs’? There has for some time now been a call both nationally and internationally to have a thorough re-examination of how ‘society’ and its ‘law makers’ tackle drug use; and then how we deal with the often catastrophic resulting effects on the lives of individuals their families and communities.

Lord Paddick: Psychoactive Substances Bill is not evidence led and it should be: Former Metropolitan Police Officer and Lib Dem peer Lord Paddick is critical of the new legal highs bill and says it shows the Government has 'no interest in an evidence-led approach'.

The House of Lords spent a fair bit of time this week debating Ireland’s head shop laws: Molly Meacher (Baroness Meacher), a former social worker, said experts had warned “the web trade in synthetic psychoactive substances is apparently thriving in Ireland”. Call to halt legal highs ban based on 'flawed' Irish system.

Drug campaigners back 'legal high' warning: Drug campaigners today backed the warning from police chiefs that new Government powers to ban legal highs will not work.

Here’s what drug and legal experts actually think of the blanket ban on legal highs: The government’s psychoactive substances bill will ban all new psychoactive substances. We asked seven experts what they thought of the proposed law.

Along with hundreds of others, I'll be inhaling laughing gas outside Parliament to protest the Tories' legal high bill: Their proposed ban is an affront to our right to do whatever we want with our bodies

Legal highs ban could be 'a disaster' for North East claims Newcastle dealer: “At the end of the day we live in an imperfect world, we are just making it safer. Unless we can get rid of every single drug on this planet people will still use them.”


Parklife 2015: Woman seriously ill in hospital after drinking the sniffing drug poppers at Heaton Park festival: Police say they confiscated 400 bottles of poppers which were being sold on site by the festival.

Stories about nitrous oxide being stolen from hospitals came from BridlingtonCornwallCumbria, East Kilbride and Grimsby.

Other legal highs

Father sends ‘legal highs’ danger alert after son’s death: A father whose teenage son died after taking drugs has sent a stark warning to other parents of children using “legal highs” from the internet.

Young driver killed himself and two friends in 97mph crash after he 'inhaled hippy crack while at the wheel': A young driver thought to have inhaled the legal high nitrous oxide at the wheel of his car hit speeds of 97mph before ploughing into an oncoming vehicle - killing himself and two friends.

2nd National New Psychoactive Substances (NPS) Conference: Responding Positively to the "Ripple Effect" held jointly between legal highs awareness charity, Angelus, and Northamptonshire based charity, Solve It.

Novel Psychoactive Substance use amongst clients accessing Changing Lives services in Newcastle – September 2014: A new study undertaken by Soundingboard Research & Consultancy and commissioned by Changing Lives to gain a better understanding of the use of Novel Psychoactive Substances (‘legal highs’) amongst individuals accessing a number of its services.

Increase in 'legal high' drugs seized at UK borders: The number of 'legal high' substances seized at Britain's borders has increased by three-quarters, according to new figures.

Special Report - legal highs in Manchester: True toll hidden by confusion and lack of official figures: Health services have no clear picture of the numbers of legal-high admissions they are dealing with, the M.E.N. has discovered - despite anecdotal evidence of a significant rise.

New campaign launches in Hertfordshire to tackle legal highs: The new campaign, set up by Hertfordshire Constabulary, with the support of the County Council, Trading Standards, and charity Spectrum, is called Why Gamble With Your Life, and is aimed to educate 14-35-year olds on the dangers of taking legal highs.

Legal high shop closed by Scots police in first case since ban was proposed in Queen's speech: By using existing legislation, police in Scotland have been able to act ahead of the ban on legal highs trailed in last week’s Queen’s Speech.

Hollyoaks plans 'legal highs' storyline for Holly Cunningham: Hollyoaks teen Holly Cunningham will head down a darker path this summer when she starts taking legal highs.


Huffing played a role in drowning death of Togiak teen, VPSO says (AK): Togiak teen was huffing gas before falling in creek, drowning, VPSO says.

Supreme Court: Huffing from aerosol cans can lead to DUI charge: The Montana Supreme Court has ruled that a person can be charged with driving under the influence for huffing aerosol propellants.

Motoring offences related to VSA were reported in AR, MI, MTNJOH and WY.

Other legal highs

Chasing the synthetic high: ‘Legal’ drugs are causing trouble for law enforcement: Constantly changing cocktails of ingredients with unpredictable effects are meant to mimic more established illicit drugs


Alarm over rise in glue sniffing: A surge in teenagers sniffing glue and getting high on petrol fumes has sparked calls for heightened parental vigilance over the summer holidays.


Phi Phi laughing gas goes viral, prompts warning nitrous oxide can be lethal: Photos of three young foreign women on Phi Phi Island reportedly under the effects of inhaling nitrous oxide, better known “laughing gas”, have gone viral on social media, prompting officials to issue a health warning.