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Home   Medway   News   Article

Legal highs review by minister Norman Baker could call for greater powers from trading standards

09 August 2014
by Lizzie Massey

Crime prevention minister Norman Baker launched a review into the substances last December on the notion that “one death from a legal high is one death too many”.

That is due out later this month.

New legislative powers and educational measures are going to be introduced, though exactly what they will be is still under wraps.

Mr Baker is due to finalise the details with Home Secretary Theresa May this month.

Legal highs were targeted in an operation across Kent

Legal highs were targeted in an operation across Kent

Other nations' models have been considered, such as blanket bans and a licensing system, but The Times reported this week that strengthening the power of trading standards officers to close down shops and websites under existing legislation is Mr Baker’s preferred tactic.

This comes four weeks after UK Skunkworks in Chatham High Street was raided by trading standards officers over concerns they were selling dangerous substances and marketing them towards students.

Last year Jimmy Guichard suffered a heart attack and brain damage just after taking a legal high, believed to have been bought from the Chatham shop.

Home Office minister Norman Baker

Home Office minister Norman Baker

It was one of 20 similar shops targeted in a successful county-wide crackdown which saw 424 sample packets taken away for testing and shopkeepers banned from selling a further 1,443 duplicate packets.

Similar raids and the confiscation of products believed to be unsafe have also been happening in Northern Ireland.


Other stories in our KM Group High Time legal highs campaign


 

According to Medway trading standards officer Ian Gilmore, the main issue is to stop people getting away with selling the products because they say they are research chemicals and not for human consumption.

He said: “Blatantly behind that is the intention these are going to be consumed or ingested.”

The KM Group’s High Time campaign calls for stricter guidelines, including better labelling.

A dossier containing the findings has been handed to Mr Baker and has been fed into the government review.

Click here for more news from Medway.

Click here for more news from around the county.

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