The Arbroath Herald can today reveal that dangerous ‘Legal Highs’ are still being sold in the town.
At ‘Evape-o-lution’, which was formerly called ‘Declaration’, on Brothock Bridge, we purchased an under-the-counter psychoactive substance called ’Go-Gaine’ - clearly word play on cocaine - which is readily available at £13.
After a brief chat with a member of staff, a selection of highs were offered, with the branding on the packet saying “Not for Human Consumption”, which is believed to be a legal loophole to avoid prosecution.
The shop markets itself as mostly selling e-cigarettes and other paraphernalia associated with them, but the revelation that these New Psycho Active Substances (NPS) are still on sale will horrify local residents, who have campaigned for the closure of the store.
It’s sister shop in Montrose, ‘The High Life’, has also reopened after a rebranding and now also trades under the ‘Evape-o-lution’ banner.
On Friday moves by the Scottish Government to tackle the sale and supply of NPS were hailed by South Angus MSP Graeme Dey, who has been deeply involved in the campaign in his constituency.
He said: “My constituency, like many others, has been impacted by head shops and the availability of NPS but relieving our communities of this problem is hugely challenging.
“The establishment of a working group will help provide a clear understanding as to what powers the Scottish Government actually has at its disposal and determine the best course of deliverable action.”
One consequence of the re-emergence of NPS in the town centre has been the joining of forces of both the Arbroath and Montrose campaigns against legal highs.
Derek Wann, from the joint steering group on legal highs, said: “We are still extremely disappointed that both the shops (Arbroath and Montrose) are still believed to be selling NPS, so called ‘legal highs’, after informing us all in the press that they were closing down the sales of these substances.
“As a collective we have decided to continue fighting to rid our streets of these products and at the same time pushing for legislation to be brought in to prohibit the sale of them.”
In relation to the Scottish Government’s decision to form an expert panel on NPS, Mr Wann said: “As campaigners in Angus for banning these substances we are glad to see that some progress is possibly starting to be made, the ideal would be that legislation be passed to ban these substances, but fully understand these things can take some time.”