Kieran McCarthy MLA said: “I was shocked by the tragic loss last month of Adam Owens from Newtownards who was the latest victim to lose his life from so-called legal highs or new psychoactive substances.
“I would like to take this opportunity to offer my sympathy to the family and friends of young Adam, their loss must surely be devastating. It is incumbent on us to act as soon as possible to block the availability of these deadly substances so as to prevent further tragedies and heartbreak.
“The most obvious and effective recourse is through legislation. This will require changes to the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, and we need the Home Office to do that. The Assembly should continue to press the Home Office for legislative changes.
“I know that the Minister for Justice, David Ford has been pressing the Home Office on this issue and welcome his commitment to the Assembly to raise it with the Home Secretary now that she is back in office after the election. The Conservatives promised to act on this in their manifesto, and we now need to see them deliver.
“In the meantime, Councils need to do all that they can with their powers to reduce the supply of these substances. Belfast City Council has led the way on this, and I hope that other Councils will follow their example.”