THE Shadow Home Secretary joined the debate about designer street drugs during a visit to the region yesterday.

Chris Grayling called for the introduction of temporary banning orders on substances suspected of being new versions of so-called legal highs.

There is increasing concern that children in the region are experimenting with substances similar to mephedrone - better known as M-Cat – which was outlawed last week.

The Leader asked Mr Grayling what he felt should be done to combat the reported spread of new drugs such as NRG-1, or naphyrone.

He said: “What we are seeing at the moment is laboratories based at locations across the world producing these drugs. They feature variations on existing drugs to make them legal.

“To help combat this we should have a system of banning orders. It would mean a substance could be banned on a temporary basis – say, for example, six months – while the chemical experts were given an opportunity to fully analyse them and then make an assessment.”

Asked what advice he could give to a typical family anxious about the potential dangers of legal highs, Mr Grayling stressed the need for communication.

He said: “I would advise parents to do all they possibly could to talk to and encourage their children not to take drugs.

“I have visited many rehabilitation centres around the country and seen the complete misery that taking drugs can bring. Lives can be totally ruined.”

Mr Grayling was on the campaign trail with Clwyd South Conservative candidate John Bell.

They visited the organisation Save The Family in Brymbo, Wrexham, which helps to keep families together if they have been made homeless.

Mr Grayling said he was impressed with the work of the organisation, praising its commitment and enthusiasm.