NORTHUMBRIA Police and Crime Commissioner Vera Baird has called on the Government to take firm action against anyone selling so-called legal highs.

Legal highs produce similar effects to illegal drugs like cocaine and ecstasy but are not controlled under the Misuse of Drugs Act, as there has not been enough research about them to base a decision on.

New Psychoactive Substances (NPS) cannot be sold for human consumption and are openly marketed with this warning, while others are sold as bath salts or plant food to get around the law. Most fall into one of three categories - stimulants, sedatives or hallucinogens.

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Mrs Baird’s intervention comes as the devastating effects of legal highs on families and communities have been seen in the North-East.

Before her election as police and crime commissioner, Mrs Baird raised the matter with the Home Secretary and has recently spoken to Lord Jeremy Beecham about this issue, promising the peer that Northumbria Police would raise this matter with the Home Office again.

Mrs Baird said: “I appreciate the Home Office has recently announced banning some of the substances used, but more needs to be done.

"We know the problems involved with tackling those who make the substances, as they change the ingredients to get around the law, so let’s give the Police and Trading Standards the tools to confront those businesses who sell these products.”