Legal Highs

MQT on 2014-11-19
Session date: 
November 19, 2014
Question By: 
Victoria Borwick
GLA Conservatives
Asked Of: 
The Mayor


The Prime Minister has spoken up in the last week about the need to combat the rise of so called "legal highs." Given your role in relation to policing in London, will you be campaigning for a change in regulations about the sale of these perceived "legal highs”? 


Answer for Legal Highs

Answer for Legal Highs

Answered By: 
The Mayor

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  Victoria, you know more about this than I do, I have to admit.  We had this conversation the other day.  You drew it to my attention.  You pointed out what the Prime Minister had said.  I am prepared to take it from you that these are nasty and dangerous things.  Whether it is timely to ban them I do not know.  You could consider me more educated on the subject than I was before.  I can now see that there is an argument.  I had thought it was not something that we needed to worry about, but you are persuading me that it is.


Victoria Borwick AM:  The important thing, Mr Mayor, is that town halls are waking up on Sunday mornings and finding their streets littered with the debris.  All of us have had correspondence about this. 


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  This is the little vials of stuff?  Yes.


Victoria Borwick AM:  Yes, that is right.  The trouble is we are all now seeing the evidence which will make people wake up to what has been going on the night before.  Let us not beat around the bush here and let us use this morning to remind people--


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  What has been going on in the bush?


Victoria Borwick AM:  ‑‑ that 60 people died last year taking what they thought were legal highs, 60 children who will not be with their families this Christmas because they took something that they thought was legal and then mistakenly, because it was legal, they thought it was safe.  Therefore, I would like you to use this forum this morning, Boris, particularly as we are coming up to the party time of the year to remind people.  Please, let us give a message from this Assembly today from all of us: do not take legal highs because actually this might not be a safe thing to do.  Yes, go out and party but, please…


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  That is right.


Victoria Borwick AM:  Let the message be more amicable around our horseshoe today to say, please, let us keep our children safe, particularly at this time before Christmas.  May I have your endorsement for that message?


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  Yes, you certainly can.  The drugs that we are talking about are called new psychoactive substances or novel psychoactive substances.  They include drugs such as King Cobra, Clockwork Orange and Bliss.  There is one called Meow Meow, which apparently has already been banned.  What they do is they mimic the effective of drugs that are already illegal but they can be bought in this city. 


I hear what you say.  We need to look further into the usage of and the harm done by these things.  I will ask the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC) to see whether we think as London that any further action should be taken against them.  When you talk about 60 kids dying, it is obviously not something that we can ignore.


Victoria Borwick AM:  Thank you very much and thank you, Assembly Members.