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Crackdown on legal highs launched as police visit shops

By Shepton Mallet Journal  |  Posted: December 05, 2013

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POLICE have launched a crackdown on the sale of 'legal highs' in shops in Glastonbury.

Officers from the force's expert drug team were in the town on Friday, visiting shops to challenge traders and raise awareness of the dangers of the substances.

The psychoactive substances – better known as legal highs – are freely available to buy, but marked not fit for human consumption.

Many actually contain illegal drugs and most contain noxious substances that can have lasting physical and psychological effects.

It is estimated 700,000 young people aged 15 to 24 have experimented with legal highs in the UK and at least 40 deaths last year were linked to them.

A number of shops in Glastonbury were visited by officers, and advice given to traders, and although police would not reveal which traders they had spoken to, they said they had removed items from two shops.

Hemp in Avalon, run by Free Love Cannabis, was one of the shops visited by police on Friday as part of the crackdown.

Police left empty handed, as his shop carries cannabis seeds and hemp products only.

"I wasn't here for it, but I wish I had been," he said.

"I love to have open dialogues with the police about drugs.

"The legal highs they were looking for contain all sorts of chemical compounds and are made by people who have no real concern about the health implications they have.

"It seems that people have a natural instinct to alter their consciousness – every night you will see people drinking in bars, and becoming violent."

He said he believed the prohibition of cannabis was among the reasons people were turning to dangerous chemical substances.

Police drugs strategy manager Paul Bunt said: "Many of the legal highs we have seized have turned out to be controlled substances or they contain chemicals that have never been tested on humans and can cause serious injury or even death.

"We are committed to preventing illegal and dangerous substances being sold to members of the public.

"Anyone who buys a substance like this is playing roulette with their health.

"We have had a very positive response from shop owners this week and will continue to work with them and our local neighbourhood teams to raise awareness on this subject."

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