The Association of Scottish Police Superintendents (ASPS) raised the issue with Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill following the death of a teenager at the Rockness music festival last month.Alex Heriot, 19, from Edinburgh, is said to have taken Benzo Fury, a drug easily found for sale on the internet.
Superintendent David O'Connor, president of ASPS, said legislation
should be amended to give officers the power to confiscate legal highs
in line with existing powers for alcohol.
"Every time you make one
set of chemicals illegal, another comes along," he said. "We have this
strange situation where we can seize alcohol from young people but if
you find them with drugs, not prescribed or over the counter, you don't
have a firm legal footing to deal with it." He said the term "legal high" sends a confusing message to people considering taking drugs. "The may think that because they're legal they're safe, even though it could kill them," he said.
O'Connor was commander officer at the Rockness festival for three years
to 2008. He said a clear safety message should be made, particularly in
the days before the T in the Park music festival gets under way: "I've
seen the effect of drugs and alcohol on people at festivals. People need
to make informed choices but we need the powers to address the issue." A former legal high, Mephedrone, was criminalised in 2010 after being linked to deaths.
Scottish Government spokesman said: "While legislation on legal highs
is reserved and a matter for the UK Government, the Scottish Government
takes emerging drugs trends and threats to the health of the people of
Scotland very seriously and work with the UK Government to ensure
Scotland is fully represented in such considerations."
Source: Associated Press