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Legal highs: Coroner to write to Home Secretary urging banning of AMT

A Salisbury coroner has said he will write to the Home Secretary Theresa May to ask her to legislate against a 'legal high' known as AMT, which caused the death of 23-year-old Christopher Scott.

Scott took two of the 'legal high' tablets known by the brand name 'AMT', whilst on a night out in Swindon, Wiltshire, last July.

AMT is a drug known as alpha-methyltriptamine, and is one of a range of substances referred to as 'legal highs' because they provide those who take them with similar effects to banned substances, but are actually not illegal and can be bought and sold in high street shops.

Legal highs have been in the news considerably recently, with a spate of deaths and serious illnesses linked to users taking the substances, which are not rigorously tested and may often be harmful.

Mr Scott's father, Michael, told the BBC that the term legal high was misleading:

"The term legal high is very misleading. Once you start saying it's a legal thing people assume it's been tested and is fine to use," he told the BBC.

"These legal highs are not worth the risk. It's like playing Russian roulette out there now," he added.

The Coroner said he would write to the Home Secretary to ask that she ban the substance, and would want to know the reasons behind any refusal to do so.

Earlier this year Robert Buckland, the Member of Parliament for South Swindon, said he too was planning to lobby the Government to ensure that AMT was banned permanently.

At present the UK bases drug laws on a list of prohibited substances classified into A, B and C categories. Substances are only illegal if placed into a classification.

The Government is struggling to legislate quick enough to outlaw many of the legal highs that are coming onto the market and as fast as substances are made illegal, new ones are created to bypass the law.