"Legal highs" review and regulation

Posted by Gemma Osgood on


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Recently, tragic cases involving 'legal highs' seem to be appearing within the news on a regular basis. Deaths from legal highs in England and Wales almost doubled over the past year and the creation of new psychoactive substances is rife.

With such substances being freely available online and in some shops, there exists a real concern that our current drug laws are not flexible enough to tackle the problems associated with 'legal highs'.

Norman Baker, the Home Office Crime Prevention Minister has recently announced that Britain is to opt out of a European Union regime for regulating legal highs. The EU proposals would essentially result in only the most harmful psychoactive substances being subject to full criminalisation. Within the EU Commission's impact assessment, it was estimated that 20% of new psychoactive substances have a 'legitimate commercial and industrial use'; an assertion strongly disputed by Mr Baker. Perhaps commitment to an EU strategy is not the way forward; however, action will be required. A review on this issue is currently ongoing, conducted by a review panel including police, prosecutors, health experts and local council officials, with a report due in Spring 2014. Legislative change may be inevitable and indeed welcomed.

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About the Author

Photograph of Gemma Osgood

Gemma is a Senior Associate in our Clinical Negligence team with extensive experience in all areas of medical negligence claims.

Gemma Osgood
Email Gemma
023 8085 7248

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