VIDEO: Conference on legal highs

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A major conference to highlight the dangers of legal highs has been held in the county.

Police and Crime Commissioner Adam Simmonds was among the speakers at a conference at the Park Inn Radisson, organised by the Northamptonshire charity Solve It alongside the London-based Angelus Foundation.

PCC Adam Simmonds speaking at today's legal highs conference NNL-140626-163752001

PCC Adam Simmonds speaking at today's legal highs conference NNL-140626-163752001

The PCC said the rise of new psychoactive substances, or legal highs, should be a matter of concern for us all.

He said: “Legal highs worry me as Police and Crime Commissioner; I know they concern my Chief Constable, and they should give sufficient cause for concern both in our wider society and for our national government.

“According to latest figures published by the National Programme of Substance Abuse Deaths, legal highs directly attributed to the deaths of 68 people in the UK in 2012.”

He went on to talk about the need for better education, prevention, early intervention and enforcement, and called for clarity from the Government on the issue of drugs.

He said: “For years governments of all colours and all political parties have failed to define their position on drugs related policy.

“While they take their time over how to legislate to address the growing problem of NPS and arguments continue to be waged over the legalisation of certain drugs, or maybe drugs in general, they are legitimising their continued use.”

He added that more could be done locally and nationally to tackle legal and illegal substances.

“We need a clear national policy to assist us and we need to change society to be less tolerant of the presence of drugs in our communities.

“The Force needs to continue to tackle the issue of drug supply in our markets, but it is also increasingly important that police begin to tackle the demand for drugs in the first place.

“Perhaps most importantly, it is time that organisations like Solve It, the police, the county council, schools, prisons, providers of rehabilitation services and health work much more closely together to rid our society of the scourge of drugs.

“Finally, we need a legislative framework that on the whole is more nimble in adapting to changes in substances and chemical compounds.

“If we all work together to eradicate drugs by reducing demand, disrupting their supply, providing better preventions and early interventions, continuing to rehabilitate and to further educate our children, young people, adults and society- we can make Northamptonshire a safer place.”

People attending the conference included representatives from the police, CPS, Prison Service, social services, the National Crime Agency and a range of other bodies.