Police in Paisley seize two million illegal pills

Image source, Scottish Drugs Forum
Image caption,
Etizolam is prohibited under the New Psychoactive Substances Act

Illegal drugs worth more than £2m have been seized by police during a raid at an industrial estate in Paisley.

Officers searched the premises in Back Sneddon Street at about 15:25 on Wednesday and found two million pills, believed to be etizolam.

Houses in Osprey Crescent in Paisley and Blackwood Terrace in Johnstone were also searched as part of the operation.

Three men, aged 43, 42 and 38 have been arrested in connection with alleged drugs offences.

David Liddell, chief executive of the Scottish Drugs Forum, said etizolam was a benzodiazepine which has been implicated in a "significant number" of drug-related deaths in Scotland.

It is unlicensed in the UK, which means it cannot be sold or prescribed legally, although it is available on prescription in some countries such as India, Italy and Japan.

'Legal highs'

He said: "It is often associated with heroin users to add to the depressant effect of that drug.

"It has also been used by people self-medicating in place of prescribed drugs such as valium."

Because it is a relatively new drug which costs about £1 for a 1mg tablet, it is not subject to the restrictions of the Misuse of Drugs Act.

However, its use is prohibited under the recent New Psychoactive Substances Act, which was introduced to combat the growth of so-called "legal highs".

Det Insp Suzanne Chow, said: "Psychoactive substances can be as harmful as controlled drugs. In all cases, users just do not know what they are taking or what the effects could be.

"Psychoactive substances cause significant harm in communities and we will always take action against those who are alleged to be involved in the manufacturing or supply of any controlled drug or substance."