East Antrim MP Sammy Wilson is calling on the government at Westminster to take urgent action to tackle the sale of so called ‘legal highs’.
This issue, which is reserved to Westminster, is one which the previous coalition government had already looked at through an expert panel to report on what legislation might be used to deal with psychoactive substances in the UK.
Mr Wilson said he would be lobbying the Conservatives to bring forward legislation in the new Parliament and he hoped the matter it would be addressed in the Queen’s speech next week.
The DUP representative added: “In the meantime, even under the current legislation Belfast City Council and Omagh Council have been successful in taking out court injunctions to close establishments selling so called legalised highs.
“This is possible under the General Product Safety Regulations 2005, and the fact that two Councils have already had success through the courts on this issue should be encouragement for the Mid and East Antrim Council to take similar action.”
Last year, a court permitted Larne Borough Council to destroy hundreds of sachets of suspected legal highs which had been seized from the Northern Lights hydroponics shop in the town, as point of a joint raid with the PSNI.
Threatening graffiti has since been painted on the shop’s shutters and earlier this month the premises was targeted in an arson attack.
Mr Wilson said: “I have no doubt that despite opposition, those that are selling these products will seek to keep premises open in Larne and every concerted effort must be made to prevent them from doing so, both at local council level and at national government level.
“The families that I have spoken to and the misery that they have gone through is something that should not be tolerated by public authorities or by the courts, and the purveyors of misery must be effectively closed down.”