Public initiatives cut both ways and campaigners who want psychoactive substances banished from their neighbourhoods scored a victory a couple weeks ago, when their efforts resulted in closure of a “smart shop” in Dundee that was a subject of a heated debate. The Holy Smoke store was known as a place where legal designer drugs can be freely purchased, but opponents contended it was improperly positioned as it was located next to a school on Albert Street.
For his part, owner of Holy Smoke, Harry Gorman (82) admitted the store was used to distribute substances that could be used to get high. He didn’t help his cause by claiming these substances are completely harmless unless they are mixed with other drugs, or by predicting “a riot” would start in case his shop was closed. However, he was unable to prevent his store from going out of business and similar fate could await other legal high vendors in the current trends persist.
Local group called “Rebel Against Legal High Shops”, lead by Dundee resident Chris James (34), organized protests against Holy Smoke and other stores in the area, eventually recruiting some political support for its objectives. While the group is predictably happy about the results of their campaigning, they are calling for more even restrictive measures targeting not only owners of the legal high shops but also landlords who lease them the premises. Pressure from landlords and shopping centre managers could effectively prevent head shops from operating, even without formal legislation to outlaw them directly.
Legal highs are a broad term covering substances that can be purchased legally despite the fact they can produce psychoactive effects. None of these compounds have been approved for human consumption and they are typically sold as room fresheners or with other innocuous labels. However, they are commonly used as replacement for illegal drugs such as cannabis or amphetamines and could have dangerous consequences in rare instances when recommended dose is accidentally exceeded. It is questionable whether initiatives against individual stores in Dundee which stock such substances would have any impact on level of abuse of designer drugs, since these can be easily ordered from the internet with no need for “local connections”.
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