5:52pm Wednesday 2nd October 2013
A CWMBRAN family has started a petition calling for shops selling legal highs in the area to be closed down.
Andrew and Nicola McDuff from Coed Eva have started the petition after their 18-year-old son began taking legal highs a year ago.
Mr McDuff said: “My son started taking legal highs on the premise that they have no side-effects and are not addictive. But recently, he was found in town unconscious after taking them.”
He said that his son began taking the substances daily and started because everyone else his age was.
Before their son started taking it, they describe him as into sport and talkative. After, he was secretive, stopped caring about his appearance and didn’t engage in conversation.
Mrs McDuff said: “Now he has come off it, he’s in withdrawal and has lost his appetite, can’t sleep and suffers panic attacks.”
They have launched an online petition, which has nearly 300 signatures, calling for the closure of shops that sell legal highs.
The 23-year-old shop owner of Chill in Pontnewydd, who refused to give the Free Press his name, is one shop targeted by the petition.
He said: “Everything I do is above board. I’m not selling anything illegal. We endorse a strict ‘do not sell to those below 18’ policy.”
He said the substances were labelled as ‘not for human consumption’ and were meant to be used for research purposes or burnt in a holder. “I can’t stop people taking it. I have co-operated with trading standards and the police. The people who are buying it for under 18s are the ones in the wrong.”
A spokesman for Torfaen trading standard said: “Trading standards works closely with Gwent Police to ensure businesses involved in the sale of so-called legal highs are aware of their legal obligation to ensure products they sell are safe, correctly labelled and not being mis-sold. Where officers obtain evidence this is not taking place, the business owners can find themselves subject to criminal and civil actions.”
The petition is on www.petitions24.com Search: close down head shops Cwmbran.
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