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Labour's Shadow Home Office Minister, Diana Johnson MP, has attacked the Home Secretary’s delay on banning dangerous ‘legal highs’.

The Government will tomorrow (23 April) finally bring in a Statutory Instrument to ban the popular ‘legal-highs’ Ivory Wave and Bonsai, despite being warned about the dangers of Ivory Wave in August 2010 and promising swift action the following month.                                                                               

The Chief Medical Officers for England and Wales first issued a health alert about Ivory Wave in August 2010 and the next month the Government promised the Commons swift action . Yet the Government’s delay in banning this drug has meant that for the last two years Ivory Wave has been readily available in nightclubs, on the internet and on the high street.

Thousands more people will have taken this drug. As a result, in one instance Ivory Wave caused 34 admissions to a single hospital within a fortnight.

Last September the ACMD delivered its final report recommending Ivory Wave be made a Class B drug , but the Home Secretary is only acting on this advice now.

Theresa May promised that her reforms to the Misuse of Drugs Act would enable ‘swift action’ against emerging legal highs, yet since she became Home Secretary over 80 new legal highs have emerged on the UK market , but this is only the second time that she has acted to ban one.

Labour Shadow Home Office Minister Diana Johnson said: “While welcoming the ban that the Home Secretary is finally enacting, why has it taken her so long?

“Following the Chief Medical Officer’s health alert in August 2010, it has been known for nearly two years that Ivory Wave and Bonsai are dangerous drugs that should be banned. During this unacceptable delay in the Home Secretary taking action, many people have been hospitalised by these substances.

“The Home Secretary’s approach has failed. With 80 more of these ‘legal highs’ appearing in the two years since she became Home Secretary, and only a few of them banned by her, she urgently needs to look again at proper controls on legal highs. We need much broader and tougher regulation of these dangerous substances before even more people come to serious harm.

“There’s no excuse for Theresa May’s failure to get a grip on this issue and take prompt action to protect the public."

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