Legal highs problem raised in Parliament

Graeme Dey and Nigel Don raised the matter of legal highs during parliamentary questions.
Graeme Dey and Nigel Don raised the matter of legal highs during parliamentary questions.

Local MSPs Nigel Don and Graeme Dey have raised the increasing problem of so-called legal highs with their colleagues in the Scottish Parliament.

The SNP MSPs used a recent Holyrood parliamentary question session to focus attention on the issue of New Psychoactive Substances (NPS) and questioned what can be done to tackle them.

Mr Dey warmly welcomed the introduction of a temporary ban on five compounds used in NPS and sought confirmation from Paul Wheelhouse, Community Justice Minister, of how Police Scotland will use this new weapon in the fight against this problem, while Mr Don secured agreement from Mr Wheelhouse to discuss the issue as it is impacting on his constituency.

It came just a few days after Mr Don accepted a 3,000-signature petition against the opening of a ‘legal high’ shop in Forfar.

Mr Dey said: “At least one of these five compounds is believed to feature in up to 60 per cent of the NPS being trafficked in Scotland so the fact the UK Government, which has legislative control over drugs, has introduced a 12 month ban on them whilst the Advisory Council on Drugs decided on possible permanent controls is to be commended.

“It is only through partnership working at local level – as we have seen here in Angus with Police Scotland and Angus Council – and on an inter-governmental and international basis that we will be able to tackle the scourge of NPS.”

Nigel Don also welcomed the news that some of the materials used in NPS have been banned and that the sale of them will attract up to 14 years in jail.

He added: “This action provides a welcome weapon in the armoury of the police and it also sends a very clear message to those who deal in these substances that their time is up.

“I also took the opportunity of the question session to draw attention to the petition which has been generated by the community in Forfar, and the minister agreed to meet me shortly to discuss the issues raised and what further actions can be taken to protect our folk from the temptation to dabble with these enormously dangerous materials.”