Steve Brine MP

for Winchester & Chandler's Ford

24 JAN 2016

Legal Highs law to get Royal Assent

Local MP Steve Brine has warmly welcomed new legislation designed to tackle 'legal highs' after years of campaigning on the issue.

The Psychoactive Substances Bill, which was a key part of the Queen's speech last summer and included in the 2015 Conservative manifesto, passed its final Parliamentary stage on Wednesday 20th January, and is now expected to receive Royal Assent.

Winchester & Chandler's Ford MP Steve Brine, who served on the Justice Select Committee and worked in the Home Office in the last Parliament, has long been pushing for so-called 'legal highs' to be outlawed and has taken part in several landmark Commons debates since being re-elected last year.

Speaking after the final debate this week, Steve said: "These substances have been of great and growing concern among parents as they have emerged over the past few years. There have been far too many tragedies and families torn apart by their misuse so we had to act. The existing law meant we were always one step behind the producers of these psychoactive substances so something new was required and the blanket ban is just that.

The Psychoactive Substances Bill will make it an offence to produce or supply 'legal highs' and introduce a maximum prison sentence of seven years for this. This will restrict their supply and ensure that people have less opportunity to get them. It will also give powers to the police to seize and destroy 'legal highs' and introduce a new offence of possession inside prison which Steve Brine introduced during the Bill's Commons Committee stages.

In Winchester, there was relief just before Christmas as a shop on Stockbridge Road was closed down for selling these substances using anti-social behaviour laws, an issue which Mr Brine had raised with police, local authorities and trading standards. Speaking in Parliament as the Bill passed its Commons' stages, Mr Brine said many of his constituents were pleased to see the back of the outlet and will welcome the new law.

He added: "Our job as politicians is to protect people where we can and I believe this new legislation does just that. It's been a long journey, and we need to ensure we continue to educate young people around the dangers of all drugs, but we're all really pleased to get it onto the statute book at long last."


More information ...

WATCH back BBC South Today report via their Facebook page (posted 24 Jan 2016)

Psychoactive Substances Bill on Parliament website

MP backs legal highs move

Legal high shop on Stockbridge Road forced to close 

Concern over legal high shop on Stockbridge Road

MPs debate drug policy

Strong backing for EC legal high opt out 

Home Office to review legal highs

MP highlights legal highs in Commons

Danger of legal highs and club drugs

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