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DUP to push for UK ban on 'legal highs' after death of teenager

By Nevin Farrell

Published 20/04/2015

Adam Owens
Adam Owens

The DUP is to press the Government for a UK-wide ban on so-called legal highs after the election.

The commitment from the party follows the death of teenager Adam Owens in Newtownards last week.

The 17-year-old was found lying on grass in the town's West Winds estate. It is believed he had taken legal highs hours earlier.

At his funeral, his mother Adele Wallace said she hoped the devastation caused by legal highs can be stopped.

More than 10,000 supporters have already rallied behind the 'Help Ban Legal Highs' Facebook page set up after Adam's death.

DUP Upper Bann Westminster candidate David Simpson said the party's pre-election manifesto - to be launched in Antrim town tomorrow - will commit to support new legislation to tackle the sale of legal highs.

Mr Simpson said: "We have been working with colleagues both in Stormont and Westminster to strengthen the laws governing these dangerous and damaging substances.

"All the polls indicate the DUP could have considerable sway after the election and in such a circumstance, new legislation to tackle legal highs will be a priority for us.

"Our manifesto will call for a UK-wide ban on new psychoactive substances. We will be demanding the new Government introduce, as one of the first pieces of legislation in the new Parliament, a Bill to tackle the scourge of new psychoactive substances." Through a new Bill, the DUP wishes to create a new UK-wide offence to deal with so-called 'head shops' by prohibiting distribution of legal highs for human consumption.

"I accept it is a complex matter in which to legislate, but too many lives are being destroyed.

"It is crucial that the incoming government acts," Mr Simpson said.

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