May 19, 2011 11:59

Government minister encourages festival crackdown on legal highs

Baroness Browning writes open letter to festival organisers

Government minister encourages festival crackdown on legal highs

Photo: Richard Johnson/NME

A government minister has appealed to UK festival organisers to crack down on the sale and use of legal highs.

Baroness Browning, the government's Crime Prevention Minister, wrote an open letter to bosses in an effort to stem the use of such substances, which are often widely available for sale at such events.

With the festival season about to start she wrote: "While people selling these products may give the impression they are legal and safe, they are more than likely not legal, and are not safe," reports BBC News.

Browning appeared to be tackling the more ambiguous end of the market, where potentially illegal substances are sold as plant food or bath salts. Mephedrone was made a class B drug last year.

She continued: "Some of these substances are so novel anyone taking them is playing Russian roulette with their health. And if you are caught selling or buy them you could face arrest and prosecution. The festival season is one of our great summer traditions and we want people to enjoy it responsibly without breaking the law."

She went on to appeal to organisers to enforce their own measures, writing: "We know organisers are alert to this worrying trend and I am inviting them once again to review the measures they have in place.

"We want to help ensure festivals are as safe an environment as possible to help protect the public, especially young people, from the potential harms and risks of all drugs."

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