Thurrock Tories tackle legal highs

TWO Stanford councillors are aiming to tackle the issue of so called "legal high" drug taking.

Homesteads Councillor James Halden and Stanford West Councillor Shane Hebb have written to Essex Police and Thurrock Council prior to a motion tabled by Cllr Halden for debate in September. This follows the two Conservative Councillors talking to concerned residents at a community clean-up day where hundreds of Nitrous Oxide canisters where found, suggesting there use as a drug effect in a public places.

Cllr Halden, who also serves as Chairman of the Children Services Committee, said "This is an issue of community leadership. The benign name legal high, combined with seeing hundreds of these gas canisters in public places, could give rise to the very incorrect view that these substances are totally safe, certainly in the eyes of our young people. They are not.

"There are various powers and resources available to us from awareness raising to banning certain substances from public places. We are fully aware that a blanket ban is a very blunt tool that can just push the issue around, that is why we are writing to the police and council, as well as having conversations with various community leaders, to assess what a targeted plan looks like so we can bring forward a multiple pronged approach between the council, police, education, and the community that will work".

Cllr Hebb said "We are starting this conversation with partners because there are harmful substances going largely unchecked in our community. This is about showing determined leadership to address an issue and making sure we use any and all powers in a targeted way to get a result. We will not sit back and meekly say that taking such substances in public and giving a bad impression of the safety to young people should become a normal activity just because it’s a difficult issue given its legal status and so on".

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