Angus South MSP Graeme Dey has welcomed the substantial progress being made by the Scottish Government and Police Scotland in their crackdown on New Psychoactive Substances (NPS), including the purchase of specialist forensic equipment.
Paul Wheelhouse MSP, the Minister for Community Safety and Legal Affairs, responding to a parliamentary question from Mr Dey, noted that the Scottish Government is taking action on all of the recommendations of the NPS Expert Working Group - including contributing to the purchase of specialist forensic equipment to better identify new substances. The Minister has written to all local councils to ask them to ban NPS in their Public Entertainment Licenses and the Scottish Government has, drawing in part on best practice developed in Angus, provided guidance to support trading standards staff in tackling these so-called ‘legal highs’.
The Scottish Government has also published a questionnaire on how the identification of NPS can be further improved, including the development of a Forensic Centre of Excellence and better sharing of information with enforcement agencies across the UK and EU.
Following the parliamentary question session, Mr Dey, a member of the NPS Cross Party Working Group commented: “If we are to meet the considerable challenges posed by NPS and our police are to stay one step ahead of those who exploit people and put their safety at risk with these dangerous new drugs then we need to use every tool at our disposal.
“I am sure this investment in the latest forensic technology will ultimately save lives.
“I also welcome the steps taken by the UK Government to make these substances illegal although I would urge them to continue to work with the Scottish Government and the Crown Office to ensure that this legislation delivers for Scotland.
“Tackling drug-related crime and preventing its harmful impact is the duty of all of us - including parents, teachers, local authorities and government - and I know some fantastic work on drug education is already being done. I would urge anyone who wants to know more about the risks of so-called legal highs to look at the website knowthescore.info, which has a wealth of useful information.”