Producing or supplying so-called legal highs, popular with thousands of young revellers, becomes an offence from today.

And police have vowed to use their new powers to the full.

For years health service leaders and police chiefs have fulminated against these drugs saying they are potentially fatal substances.

Video thumbnail, Angelus film on reality of legal highs
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So the passing into law of the government’s Psychoactive Substances Bill is music to the ears of Det Chief Inspector Warren Stevenson, West Yorkshire Police’s lead on drugs.

And he says it’s not before time given that young Britons are the biggest consumers of legal highs in Europe; an incredible 670,000 15-24-year-olds say the UN Office on Drugs and Crime.

Deaths from legal highs have risen steeply in recent years too.

In 2012 the number of deaths from them in England, Wales and Scotland was 99 rising to 173 deaths in 2013.

Greater Manchester Police handout photo of a so-called legal high known as Annihilation
Greater Manchester Police handout photo of a so-called legal high known as Annihilation

Dealers can now now face up to seven years in prison. Nitrous oxide or laughing gas will also be prohibited.

DCI Stevenson said the change in legislation would provide police with new powers to tackle this industry.

Users typically have only a hazy idea of the potential damage they are doing to themselves when they take them.

He said: “People have got the wrong message. These substances can cause damage to organs, they have harmful effects.

“And the cost to police and health services in having to deal with the consequences is too much.”