Charity backs calls for tougher rules on 'legal highs'

Hester Stewart, 21, died after taking an unclassified liquid drug GBL

Hester Stewart, 21, died after taking an unclassified liquid drug GBL

First published in News
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A CHARITY set up in memory of a medical student who died after taking a ‘legal high’ has backed recommendations for tougher legislation.

A spokesman for the Angelus Foundation, founded by the mother of Sussex University medical student Hester Stewart, said penalties were “too low” for shops knowingly selling psychoactive substances for human consumption.

The Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) think-tank this week recommended laws making it easier for so-called ‘head shops’ to be closed down and owners banned from opening certain types of businesses.

Angelus spokesman Jeremy Sare said: “The main thrust of what they are saying is there should not be these unpredictable substances on the high street and we entirely agree, that has gone on too long.

“Some shops in the UK have sold substances which have caused deaths and they have not responded in any way – what other business would continue to sell a substance which has killed somebody?

“Some of these are very powerful drugs – a 16-year-old trying one can have an extremely distressing experience which sits with them for a very long time.”

The CSJ recommends following the example of the Irish government in 2010 when it passed a law allowing police to shut down shops that refuse to stop selling psychoactive substances for human consumption.

Shops in the UK frequently dodge less strict legislation by marketing the substances as, for example, plant food, room fresheners and bath salts.

Lewes MP Norman Baker, the minister for crime prevention, said he was waiting for the Home Office to formally respond to his review on how to tackle the growing use of the drugs.

He said: “My aim is to minimise the harm from these substances in society.

“People think they are safe because there is a tendency to call them ‘legal highs’, which confers a respectability they don’t warrant.”

He wrote to local authorities across the country about six months ago, highlighting underused powers to tackle the trade.

He said: “We are in a race against the chemists in which we are always playing catch-up.”

Hester Stewart died in 2009 after taking unclassified liquid party drug GBL.

Comments (15)

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7:25am Wed 20 Aug 14

B rian Tawses left foot says...

GBL is an industrial chemical not a 'party drug'. It was banned before the current crop of 'head shops' emerged and was only available on the internet.. Also I'm not sure Mr Sare would like being described as 'unpredictable'.
A truly shockingly written article. It would seem that the argus is employing 7 year olds as journalists.
GBL is an industrial chemical not a 'party drug'. It was banned before the current crop of 'head shops' emerged and was only available on the internet.. Also I'm not sure Mr Sare would like being described as 'unpredictable'. A truly shockingly written article. It would seem that the argus is employing 7 year olds as journalists. B rian Tawses left foot
  • Score: 2

9:37am Wed 20 Aug 14

applecore says...

Stop being such an arse, it's obviously a mistake. Apart from one typo there is nothing wrong with it you boring troll.
Stop being such an arse, it's obviously a mistake. Apart from one typo there is nothing wrong with it you boring troll. applecore
  • Score: -6

9:42am Wed 20 Aug 14

NickBrt says...

What's the point in asdking for tougher penalties when the green mp wants all drug penalties abolished?
What's the point in asdking for tougher penalties when the green mp wants all drug penalties abolished? NickBrt
  • Score: 0

10:30am Wed 20 Aug 14

Tr1stan says...

It's not a typo. It is GBL - used recreationally it IS a party drug
It's not a typo. It is GBL - used recreationally it IS a party drug Tr1stan
  • Score: 7

11:14am Wed 20 Aug 14

We love Red Billy says...

We should dub these Darwin drugs. If you are stupid enough to put something in your body cooked up in someones kitchen then dont whine when uou wake up dead.
We should dub these Darwin drugs. If you are stupid enough to put something in your body cooked up in someones kitchen then dont whine when uou wake up dead. We love Red Billy
  • Score: 5

11:28am Wed 20 Aug 14

B rian Tawses left foot says...

applecore says...

Stop being such an arse, it's obviously a mistake. Apart from one typo there is nothing wrong with it you boring troll.

Apart from getting all the 'facts' wrong .
applecore says... Stop being such an arse, it's obviously a mistake. Apart from one typo there is nothing wrong with it you boring troll. Apart from getting all the 'facts' wrong . B rian Tawses left foot
  • Score: 1

12:06pm Wed 20 Aug 14

mhaiti says...

"what other business would continue to sell a substance which has killed somebody"

Off licenses
Tobacconists

The only difference is that the government rakes it in with the taxation on these legal substances.
"what other business would continue to sell a substance which has killed somebody" Off licenses Tobacconists The only difference is that the government rakes it in with the taxation on these legal substances. mhaiti
  • Score: 4

12:08pm Wed 20 Aug 14

notslimjim says...

If they are 'legal highs', why are there penalties for selling them?
If they are 'legal highs', why are there penalties for selling them? notslimjim
  • Score: 2

4:01pm Wed 20 Aug 14

sussexram40 says...

It's inconsistent to call for tough restrictions on legal highs that harm very very few people when the big health destroyers and killers - alcohol and tobacco - are legal and taxed by government.
I don't support these legal highs but I've seen no evodence they are any more harmful than alcohol and tobacco.
When somebody dies or becomes ill from alcohol or smoking (and thousands do every day) we don't hear people campaigning for those things to be banned.
It's inconsistent to call for tough restrictions on legal highs that harm very very few people when the big health destroyers and killers - alcohol and tobacco - are legal and taxed by government. I don't support these legal highs but I've seen no evodence they are any more harmful than alcohol and tobacco. When somebody dies or becomes ill from alcohol or smoking (and thousands do every day) we don't hear people campaigning for those things to be banned. sussexram40
  • Score: 4

4:08pm Wed 20 Aug 14

Goldenwight says...

"A spokesman for the Angelus Foundation, founded by the mother of Sussex University medical student Hester Stewart, said penalties were “too low” for shops knowingly selling psychoactive substances for human consumption. "

Nutmeg is a psychoactive substance. As is Coriander. The Angelus Foundation is presumably aiming to ban the sale of herbs and spices in grocery stores?
"A spokesman for the Angelus Foundation, founded by the mother of Sussex University medical student Hester Stewart, said penalties were “too low” for shops knowingly selling psychoactive substances for human consumption. " Nutmeg is a psychoactive substance. As is Coriander. The Angelus Foundation is presumably aiming to ban the sale of herbs and spices in grocery stores? Goldenwight
  • Score: -1

5:32pm Wed 20 Aug 14

NickBrt says...

Do the people who take these substances bear no responsibility for doing so? Just how nannified do we want to be? Does the charity think increasing penalties will stop its use?
Do the people who take these substances bear no responsibility for doing so? Just how nannified do we want to be? Does the charity think increasing penalties will stop its use? NickBrt
  • Score: 3

6:20pm Wed 20 Aug 14

NathanAdler says...

Why can't people just enjoy a beer nowadays?

She looks like such a beautiful girl, why do "legal highs" ?
Why can't people just enjoy a beer nowadays? She looks like such a beautiful girl, why do "legal highs" ? NathanAdler
  • Score: -2

8:26pm Wed 20 Aug 14

notslimjim says...

NathanAdler wrote:
Why can't people just enjoy a beer nowadays?

She looks like such a beautiful girl, why do "legal highs" ?
Because she can....or could.
[quote][p][bold]NathanAdler[/bold] wrote: Why can't people just enjoy a beer nowadays? She looks like such a beautiful girl, why do "legal highs" ?[/p][/quote]Because she can....or could. notslimjim
  • Score: 0

5:02am Thu 21 Aug 14

Valentinian says...

Perhaps if alcohol was not so **** expensive!
Perhaps if alcohol was not so **** expensive! Valentinian
  • Score: 0

11:54am Thu 21 Aug 14

thevoiceoftruth says...

NathanAdler wrote:
Why can't people just enjoy a beer nowadays?

She looks like such a beautiful girl, why do "legal highs" ?
Alcohol kills more people than legal highs.
[quote][p][bold]NathanAdler[/bold] wrote: Why can't people just enjoy a beer nowadays? She looks like such a beautiful girl, why do "legal highs" ?[/p][/quote]Alcohol kills more people than legal highs. thevoiceoftruth
  • Score: 2

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