The Act – due to be implemented from spring this year – will prohibit the production, supply and importation of these potentially dangerous drugs, often incorrectly called ‘legal highs’, with offenders facing up to seven years in prison.
Councillor Amanda Grehan said: “Banning these substances is a very welcome move to protect our young people. They are often produced and packaged in back street garages with no controls on hygiene or what actually goes into the packages.
“Tests on packages found in Northern Ireland have shown the same brand name to regularly contain different ingredients. This can lead users to take more when they do not get the same effect as previously, and overdosing can result.
“We have seen too many of our young people become ill, or tragically die following use of these products. The people producing or selling these substances are only interested in making money and have no concern for the users.
“I have previously highlighted this issue in the Council Chamber and I applaud the efforts of the Alliance Justice Minister David Ford MLA, who has worked closely with the Home Office to have this new law enacted. As a mother, I am pleased that another potential danger will be removed from our streets.”