I would like to praise the government for the action they are taking to counter legal highs and make these substances illegal.
Use of these substances often has severe consequences for the (predominantly) young people that take them and action on this topic has been long overdue. This situation got so out of control that we even heard reports of these dangerous substances being used as pizza toppings here in the North East!
It is also vital that we do not simply consider this matter closed now that legislation is being introduced, the argument that new substances will simply be developed as a result of new laws is an accurate one.
We must keep on top if this issue and take action as new substances are brought onto the market. This is not a case of expanding big brother or seeking to fill prisons to look tough on crime, it is important that action is taken so that we can save the lives of a great many young people who do not understand the threat posed by the substances they are taking.
Alongside this ban we must focus on education, we must continue to raise awareness of these substances and the threats that they can pose. I understand many people who take these drugs are only trying to have a good time but I am convinced that many of these people do not fully understand the nature of the substance they are taking or the health risks involved.
I am not naive, I know that a ban will not simply end substance abuse overnight, but if it even saves a few lives and raises awareness of the threats these substances pose then I will support these moves wholeheartedly.
Jonathan Arnott MEP
UKIP, North East