When the number of ‘legal highs’ shops boomed on our High Streets, the community responded and two groups were set up to get them closed down.
Members of the public took to Facebook and created the Arbroath Against Legal Highs and Montrose Against Legal Highs groups. They have since merged and through active campaigning and media coverage have seen the Arbroath shops closed.
The Montrose store however remains and there was talk of one opening in Forfar.
Angus Councillor David May, who is an active member of the group, said: “The groups were set up due to our huge concerns about legal highs and our attempt to get these shops closed and I am delighted that the shops in Arbroath have now closed and it seems that the Forfar shop has not opened.
“Our members also realised that there is also a need for fuller awareness of the risks and dangers associated with use and consumption of what are called ‘legal highs’ or as they are more accurately called New Psychoactive Substances (NPS).
“The commonly used term ‘legal highs‘ is totally inaccurate and misleading as it does seem to indicate that these substances are safe, however it is clear that these substances can contain toxic substances which are harmful. There have been a number of deaths and hospital admissions linked to the use of NPSs.
“A concerned parent in Montrose whose son had taken substances told me: ‘I know how dangerous these substances are not only due to the effect it had on my son who has spent time in hospital overnight and was found on one occasion on the ground seemingly unconscious. The medical staff arrived on the scene and as he was not able to explain in detail what he had taken he was very difficult to treat. This should be a warning to all youngsters and their families that these substances can be lethal’.
“I have been told from the medical profession that individuals can never be sure what people are actually taking when they take NPS.
“The message we are trying to get across is that there is no safe way to take NPS, as is the case with controlled drugs, there is always a risk to your health or indeed your life.”
Angus activist Sanjay Samani created a petition calling on the owners of the shops in Montrose, Arbroath and across Tayside to stop selling NPSs with immediate effect.
He said: “There is no legitimate use of these products, which is why the UK Government has indicated that they will be banned in future.
“The owners should stop exploiting the vulnerable and stop selling them immediately.”
The petition can be found online at Stop Legal Highs