Police and health officials have welcomed the introduction of a new law that makes it a criminal offence to produce or supply so-called legal highs.
The UK-wide Psychoactive Substances Act came into effect yesterday.
Only those substances already controlled by the Misuse of Drugs Act – nicotine, alcohol, caffeine and medicinal products – are exempt from the act.
Karen Smith, alcohol and drug development officer said: “Any drug made or sold as a ‘legal high’ will not have gone through the testing and investigation pharmaceutical products are subjected to – you cannot be sure of a legal high’s strength or dosage, or even that you’re getting what is offered.
“Across the UK and also in Shetland there have been drug-related deaths that have been attributed to legal highs, this Act will hopefully make people think more about what it is they are taking.”
She added: “People have often thought the term legal highs meant they were safe to use, in fact this has often been the contrary.”
Chief inspector Lindsay Tulloch also welcomed the act, saying the force would take “appropriate and proportionate action to deal with new psychoactive substances (NPS) and the negative impact they have on local communities”.
He said efforts would also be made to reduce the harm caused by the substances. “We hope by making local communities aware of the introduction of the Psychoactive Substances Act 2016 we will reach those who choose to supply NPS and encourage them to re-think their activities.
“There is no safe way to take NPS, there is always a risk. The only way of staying safe is to avoid NPS altogether.”
Anyone with information about drugs or NPS should contact police in Lerwick on 101.
If anyone is concerned about their own use of NPS or any other substances they should call the Substance Misuse Recovery Service on 01595 743675 or speak to their GP.