Stockport Express Column August 2015

I was really struck by the comments of a woman who wrote to me this week to support the campaign against legal highs.

She outlined what a devastating and life ruining effect legal highs had had on her former partner and told me: “The thought of children and young adults becoming addicted to this is horrific.”

Young people can easily become hooked on these drugs, which I fear can make them very vulnerable and put them at great risk of being groomed by sexual predators.

I am pleased that Stockport Labour councillors have backed a blanket ban on legal highs, including sales in the town centre, which is where my constituent bought them. A voluntary scheme was launched in Stockport to prevent the sale of products such as nitrous oxide and poppers but only three out of 13 businesses identified as selling legal highs have signed up to the pledge to take them of the shelves.

So we need legislation to force them to do the right thing.  However, changing the law is not enough on its own. There is a need for more education in schools and elsewhere to send out the message that just because these substances are legal, it does not mean that they are safe.

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