A NEW blanket ban on legal highs could mean dealers face up to seven years behind bars.
The Psychoactive Substances Act 2016 came into effect today (Thursday), which makes it an offence to produce, supply, offer to supply, possess with intent to supply, import or export psychoactive substances - often referred to as 'legal highs.'
The Act is designed to target those who are producing or supplying the substances, and will carry a maximum sentence of seven years' imprisonment.
Acting Det Ch Supt Ray Howard, head of Intelligence and Specialist Operations, said: "I am pleased that Thames Valley Police will now be able to take action to prevent the sale and distribution of these substances, which can be highly addictive and have many associated risks, including negative consequences to a person's mental health.
"It is important that businesses and the public are aware of the new rules.
"These new laws are a step forward and will have a positive effect on the Thames Valley."
The Act covers all substances which are capable of affecting the central nervous system but excludes everyday substances such as alcohol, tobacco, food, nicotine, caffeine and medical products.
Alkyl nitrates, also known as poppers, will also not be included in the legislation, but Nitrous Oxide will be included if it is being sold for recreational purposes.
Police say the Act is not aiming to criminalise people who possess the substances, but rather those who are producing, importing or supplying them.
People found ordering the substances from websites could face prosecution under the act, and could now face legal consequences for sharing psychoactive drugs among their friends.
The Act will provide police with the powers to stop and search people, vehicles and vessels, enter and search premises in accordance with a warrant, and to seize and destroy psychoactive substances