I wrote this item in May 2016 but forgot to post it then, when the ban on so-called legal highs came into force.
Legal highs are no more. Yes, the drugs still exist but they are no longer legal, something I enthusiastically welcome.
Anything that makes access to harmful substances more difficult is a good thing. We have seen the disastrous experience of the relaxation of alcohol licensing regulations that resulted in a massive increase in alcohol use by some with all its adverse health consequences and increases in antisocial behaviour.
On a positive note, the restriction of the sale of tobacco, hiding tobacco products from public view in retail outlets, and most recently the new packaging requirements, has seen a reduction in smoking, not least by younger people. That’s fantastic.
Legal highs are increasingly posing challenges in all communities. We are witnessing levels of harm yet to be understood. There is increasing volatile behaviour, including in specialist services well used to managing people with chaotic lifestyles. Along with super strength alcohol, I believe so-called legal highs to be one of the biggest challenges we are facing.
Libertarians who advocate decriminalisation won’t be happy. I have already heard one person dismiss the new law saying that two thirds of users will still use these psychoactive substances. My response is one third won’t! Wouldn’t it be lovely to hear apologists for drug use state unambiguously that they want to see an end to all drug use. Their silence on this says a lot.
Therefore, I welcome the new law and hope that it will make a small contribution to reducing harm and destroying lives.