On Thursday 26 May the Psychoactive Substances Act 2016 comes into force. Often known as ‘legal highs’, new psychoactive substances (NPS) will be covered by legislation that bans their production, supply and importation.
This legislation will fundamentally change the way Wiltshire Police tackle psychoactive substances and will make new drugs that appear on the market illegal quicker than ever before.
Head of Crime Prevention Superintendent Phil Staynings said: “This new legislation is a very positive step forward. We are ready to enforce the new law and tackle the harm caused in communities by the sale and use of drugs. As with all drugs, our approach will be practical, proportionate and based on the individual circumstances.”
“We have a number of options available to enforce this legislation which include prohibition notices, premises notices, prohibition orders and premises orders all of which allow police and local authorities to require people to stop stocking, selling or supplying psychoactive substances.
“Officers have been given powers to stop and search people, vehicles (including vessels), enter and search premises in accordance with a warrant, and to seize and destroy psychoactive substances.
“A psychoactive substance is defined in the new law as a drug which is capable of affecting a person’s mental functioning or emotional state, but is not currently controlled as a class A, B or C drug. There has been little or no useful research into the short or long-term risks from human consumption of NPS and you really do not know what you are buying as they have widely different strengths and effects on different people. NPS can be highly addictive too.”
Illegal drugs such as cannabis, cocaine and ecstasy will continue to be controlled by the misuse of drugs act.
While the new Act does not criminalise the possession of psychoactive substances, it will be an offence to possess them within custodial institutions, or anywhere with intent to supply them to another. It is also an offence to import them (eg by buying them from a foreign website).
Wiltshire Police are encouraging the public to let them know if they believe shops or other establishments are supplying psychoactive substances once the Act comes into force on 26 May 2016. This can be done by calling Wiltshire Police on 101. A partnership response to NPS is already being co-ordinated across Wiltshire.
Alternatively you can contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or through their Anonymous Online Form at www.crimestoppers-uk.org. No personal details are taken, information cannot be traced or recorded and you will not go to court.
If you are worried about drugs and want further confidential help and advice you can visit talktofrank.com or call FRANK on 0300 123 6600