Glasgow Labour MSP Anne McTaggart has urged the Scottish Government to establish a clear message and robust approach towards new psychoactive substances (NPS).
Ms McTaggart was speaking in a members’ business debate at the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday (6th January), on the NHS Tayside report on new psychoactive substances, also known as ‘legal highs’.
Legal highs are designed and produced to mimic the effects of illegal drugs such as cocaine, cannabis and ecstasy, although that they are created with a different chemical structure in order to avoid being controlled under the current legislation.
Ms McTaggart highlighted the economic and social cost of illicit drug use and praised community groups and support agencies that help raise awareness of the dangers of legal highs.
Speaking in the debate Ms McTaggart said “Although there is much media and political interest in legal highs, there is currently very little robust data on prevalence or patterns of use, which makes it difficult to assess the need to deliver health prevention interventions.
“The range of new substances, and the rate at which they appear, mean that we need to understand the situation and respond differently from how we might have done in the past.
“I therefore call on the Scottish Government to take steps to establish a clear message in schools and the wider public to warm them of the dangers of NPS, as legal highs have the ability to become an even greater problem in the future and urgent action needs to be taken as they result in a cost to society.”
You can read Ms McTaggart’s full speech here