Northern Ireland

DUP calls for emergency legislation on 'legal high' drugs

Legal high Image copyright Streetdrugs.org
Image caption Legal highs are often created in laboratories in the Far East and brought to Europe

The sale of legal highs is to be discussed by the Northern Ireland Assembly at Stormont later.

The DUP have tabled a motion calling for the justice minister to introduce emergency measures restricting sales.

They are concerned about the drugs being sold under false pretences and the damage such substances can cause.

In January, the South Belfast Police and Community Safety Partnership held an emergency meeting on the issue.

They wanted to talk about the concerns of city centre traders over the use of legal highs by young people in the greater Smithfield market area.

They also wanted to address anti-social behaviour in the area. The group called for more support from other agencies.

In February, Belfast City Council was granted permission by a court to destroy seized substances that it believed were "legal highs" which had been been seized from a shop in the city centre.

The council had moved to remove similar products from five city centre shops. Four out of five traders had agreed to stop supplying the products.

Legal highs, officially known as psychoactive substances, are synthetic drugs that can be bought online and, sometimes, in shops.

They are often created in laboratories in the Far East and are rushed to European and other markets before authorities have time to ban them.

Several deaths in the UK have been linked to legal highs. More than 200 of the substances have been banned since the coalition government came to power in 2010.

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