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Police ready to use new powers to prevent harm caused by psychoactive substances – ‘legal highs’

NEW legislation covering psychoactive substances, often referred to as so-called 'legal highs', comes into effect on Thursday 26th May with offenders potentially facing up to seven years in prison.

The Psychoactive Substances Act will provide a blanket ban on the production, supply and importation of psychoactive substances; that is any substance intended for human consumption that is capable of producing a psychoactive effect. Legitimate substances, such as food, alcohol, tobacco, nicotine, caffeine and medical products are excluded.

The legislation will fundamentally change the way police forces tackle these substances and will make new drugs that appear on the market illegal quicker than ever before.

Warwickshire Police and West Mercia Police will be policing the act in a practical and proportionate manner, as well as placing a great emphasis on an educational and preventative approach, along with partner agencies.

Detective Chief Inspector Ally Wright, business lead for drugs for the alliance, said: "We are committed to preventing the harm caused by illegal drugs and this legislation gives us new powers to tackle psychoactive substances.

"The effects of these substances can be devastating, even fatal. Users can never be sure of exactly what they contain, the side effects they could have or what long-term damage they could cause. We would urge people never to even consider taking them.

"We will take action where we find people committing offences under this act. Punishments range from a prohibition notice, which is a formal warning, to seven years in prison."

Officers have been given powers to stop and search people, vehicles and vessels, enter and search premises in accordance with a warrant, and to seize and destroy psychoactive substances.

Advice and support can be found at www.talktofrank.com

People who have information about the supply of psychoactive substances are encouraged to contact us by calling 101, or this information can be passed on anonymously by contacting the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or by visiting www.crimestoppers-uk.org

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