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Drugs Early Warning

by msecadm4921

Drugs would be tested, identified and catalogued within hours of being seized at Glastonbury Festival, it was announced.

The Forensic Early Warning System (FEWS) will see scientists, police and drugs charities working together to build a fast and accurate picture of new drugs being sold and what harmful substances they contain.

FEWS was created in response to growing concerns about the rise in use of so-called ‘legal highs’ and puts the UK at the forefront of international efforts to tackle the issue.

Baroness Browning, minister for crime prevention, said: "We must send a clear message to anyone who takes so-called ‘legal highs’ – you are playing Russian roulette with your health.

"The Forensic Early Warning System is a pioneering approach that will help us stay one step ahead of unscrupulous manufacturers who peddle in these pernicious products.

"I am delighted Glastonbury, and other festivals, have supported this initiative and hope together we can help protect young people from the real dangers posed by these drugs."

Police will take drugs seized at the festival back to a nearby testing facility where scientists will be able to analyse and identify them.

All intelligence gathered will be shared with other summer festival organisers so they can take appropriate steps to tackle their use.

The government will also monitor the data FEWS provides and consider further action, including asking its independent advisors, the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, to consider the prevalence and harms posed by any of these new psychoactive substances.

069/2011

NOTES TO EDITOR

1. The FEWS will also be used at other summer festivals later in the season, details of which are to be confirmed.

2. Baroness Browning wrote to all festival organisers earlier this month reminding them of the need to remain vigilant to the dangers posed by new psychoactive substances. For a copy of the letter please go to http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/media-centre/news/festivals-warned?version=1

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