Aberdeen Scottish Conservative Councillor, Ross Thomson, has been actively campaigning against the sale of New Psychoactive Substances (NPS) so called “legal highs” in Aberdeen.
Ross lodged a motion at Full Council in March 2014 calling on the Chief executive, Valerie Watts, to write to both UK and Scottish Governments asking them to ban legal high substances and to take proactive measures to combat their sale and supply in Scotland. The response received from both Home Office and Scottish Government Ministers was encouraging.
Please see click this link to view the minutes of the March full Council http://committees.aberdeencity.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=122&MId=2867&Ver=4
Ross attended a special meeting of Aberdeen Alcohol and Drugs Partnership (ADP). As a result a special briefing on Legal Highs in Aberdeen and the work to curb their sale and supply was provided at the meeting of the Full Council in June 2014.
Please see click on the following links to view the ADP report presented to the June 2014 Full Council;
Councillor Thomson established the Aberdeen Against Legal Highs campaign group on the Social Networking site Facebook. The campaign has linked up with “Arbroath against legal high drugs” and a growing campaign in Montrose. The success of these campaigns demonstrates a growing concern in communities across the North East and Scotland.
Scottish Conservatives also unveiled figures, obtained through freedom of Information, highlighting that hundreds of people in Scotland have been admitted to hospital after taking legal highs over the last five years There were 323 admissions to accident and emergency units since 2009.
Councillor Thomson is concerned that premises selling legal highs are unlicensed and unregulated meaning that we do not know where and how often these substances are being sold across the city.
Legal Highs are chemically similar to illegal drugs but have been altered to make them legal, for example: they are labelled as research chemicals, herbal incense, bath salts, plant food or not for human consumption. They are easy to obtain whether online, at newsagents or “head shops” which are present at locations in Aberdeen. In his motion Councillor Thomson has asked Council to note with concern that these substances are sold openly from retail premises in Aberdeen.
Scottish Conservative Councillor Ross Thomson said:
“I have launched Aberdeen Against legal Highs and lodged a motion to Council to raise public awareness in Aberdeen of the dangers of legal highs. Residents and parents I speak to are shocked to learn that retail premises selling legal highs are completely unlicensed and unregulated and they share my concern that legal highs are too easily available.”
“There is genuine community concern regarding the availability of legal highs and it is clear from the figures released by the Scottish Conservatives that they are an ever increasing problem posing a serious health risk. People in communities across Scotland are campaigning against legal highs and I hope that my own campaign in Aberdeen continues to get stronger and stronger. I have received a fantastic response so far as residents across the city share concerns about the availability of legal highs in retail premises.”
“I am pleased that my motion to Council and the following ADP report have been submitted to the Home Office as part of the UK government review of legislation. In my own view our drug laws need to be updated in order to tackle the growing menace of legal highs. Quite simply these lethal substances should be banned in order to protect our communities from the danger they pose. Please do not hesitate to get in touch if you would like to get involved in the campaign against legal highs in Aberdeen.”