“Herbal high” safer option

AFTER watching a number of friends ruin their lives through using hard drugs, the owner of a Fremantle store said it was an easy decision to stock synthetic drugs.

Travis McLeod, the owner of Fremantle�s Finest on Adelaide Street, said he watched countless addicts attend drug programs and rehabilitation programs without success before finding their way back on hard drugs, he said synthetic or �herbal highs� gave them a different avenue to try.

Mr McLeod said he was offering a �safe and healthy alternative to the hard stuff�, however the Drug and Alcohol Office say the substances pose a serious health risk and that users could never tell exactly what was in the drug.

�What I sell are not synthetic copies of illegal drugs, all the compounds are found in many plants and foods naturally and are allowed to be made into dietary supplements,� Mr McLeod said.

�It is possible to make herbal highs using compounds that are already found in the foods we eat everyday.�

South Metropolitan Region MLC Phil Edman said he was �outraged� when he was told the store was openly selling synthetic drugs.

�It is inconceivable to me that a shop like this, that can do so much damage to families and the community, would be allowed to open in the City of Fremantle,� he said.

�People need to be protected from the harms of illicit drugs and their synthetic copies, not encouraged to continue using them.

�The need is urgent, now more than ever, for the government to introduce new legislation that will ban all forms of psychoactive substances.�

Drug and Alcohol Office executive director Neil Guard said new legislation would soon be introduced to parliament that would ban the sale, supply, manufacture, advertising and promotion of psychoactive substances.

�A range of synthetic drugs continue to emerge at a rapid rate across Australian jurisdictions,� he said.

�People using them are essentially experimenting with substances that can have short, long term and serious side-effects, including death.�