Licensing board to get tough over ‘legal highs’

The Shetland Area Licensing Board has agreed to include extra measures to crack down on the sale of new psychoactive substances at music festivals and other public entertainment events.

A letter from the Scottish government has been received from the board, heading into the summer festival season, suggesting that licensing boards should look at an additional condition when granting occasional licences for music festivals and other entertainment events. The stipulation means organisers will use their “best endeavours” to prevent the sale of NPS, also known as “legal highs”, at the event.

Government guidance, backed by the board, explained this could include searches on entry, stating no NPS on tickets and rejecting stalls wanting to sell the drugs.

In May the Home Office published the Psychoactive Substances Bill, which will create a blanket ban on the substances from April next year.

Members of the meeting on Tuesday heard from the police and NHS Shetland about the dangers and increasing problems of NPS in Shetland.

In a briefing note from director of public health Sarah Taylor, the board was told Shetland had seen a marked increase in NPS over the last couple of years, both in hospital presentations and at drug treatment services.

A working group had been set up in response providing a greater understanding of NPS and trends.

Hospital treatment was difficult because little was known about the substances being taken and patients were unable to say what they had consumed

Dr Taylor said: “More often than not it is more than one substance that has been consumed, including alcohol.”
She said anecdotally the public were not well educated on NPS and in 2013 a local shop was accidentally selling NPS and was unaware of what it was being purchased for.

“A number of recent drug related deaths in Shetland have NPS factoring in the death and have been known to be the main contributor to one,” she added.

NHS Shetland drug and alcohol development officer Karen Smith said they had been working in partnership with the police to make sure local shops were not selling NPS.

She added that from a health perspective, users had problems with breathing, chest pains, palpitations, vomiting and disorientation.

• For more see tomorrow’s Shetland Times



Add Your Comment
  • David Spence

    • July 17th, 2015 15:32

    We put in laws to curtail the use of so many drugs, and yet we allow the sale and use of the largest drug of all, which costs society the most in terms of criminal activity, family breakups, fighting, damage to property, stretching the resources of the police, NHS and other services related to Local Authority responsibilities, this being alcohol. Society is so obsessed with this drug, it is almost hard to believe some people may think society would crumble if we did not have it (in reference to the 3 most popular soaps, all centered around a pub and the sale of alcohol).

    If we promoted tea and coffee as much as we promote alcohol, I am sure society would be much better for it.

    Yes, people may say ‘ Any thing in moderation should do no harm ‘ If only this was the case with alcohol, but it is not.

    It is very sad that in a very small community, alcohol should play such a big part in how this community behaves and acts, as well as using alcohol as a reason for celebration of whatever……….Why?

    • Alvin Leong

      • July 18th, 2015 13:25

      Up Helly Aa will be quite pointless without alcohol.

  • David Spence

    • July 19th, 2015 2:49

    Alvin, I am not so sure if this is a representative reflection of Up Helly Aa or moreso the people of Shetland?

    I am sure Up Helly Aa could survive without the use of alcohol, if it really wanted to try. lol

    I am just intrigued as to why so many people are conditioned into accepting alcohol as a major part of what makes up society, but at the same time, those same people will condemn actions carried out as a result of drinking too much………………but will do nothing to address the real source of the problems……………alcohol always seems to win……………………we must not deter the Hotels, Pubs and other commercial interests connected to the production and use of alcohol, must we?

    Is our priorities based on economics rather than addressing the problems???

    • Alvin Leong

      • July 19th, 2015 18:13

      I will love to see a alcohol free Up Helly Aa and how well it will turn out.


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