Police are warning about the deadly ticking time bomb of legal highs available on the Internet and in “head shops” – so called because the drugs get you off your head.
Legal highs contain a cocktail of psychoactive (mind altering) substances and have left scores in hospital, including a boy of 17 who had a heart attack and nearly died, and prompted users to commit extreme acts of violence.
Acting chief inspector Pat Coates said some users have suffered kidney damage or bleeding of the lungs and it’s tough for hospital doctors to treat them because it’s impossible to know precisely what they’ve taken.
He said: “The message is you really don’t know what you are taking with these products. People are making these drugs in cement mixers – two packets of the same-name product will have completely different strengths.”
New Psychoactive Substances (NPS) have names like Exodus Damnation, Clockwork Orange and Annihilation and are available for as little as £6.
Annihilation, described as a herbal incense, left nine people in hospital in three months.
Chief Insp Coates said: “People have become violent and very aggressive on these products – one young lad bit his father’s bottom lip off in Leicestershire.”
He said it doesn’t mean the drugs are safe because they are legal.
Lincolnshire Police, Trading Standards and Public Health officials have mounted Operation Burdock to warn of the danger posed by legal highs and say school pupils in the county are getting hold of the drugs.
Every school in Lincoln bar one has reported incidents of legal high use and Operation Burdock bosses say: “It’s only a matter of time before we see deaths.”
Lincolnshire Police are finding legal high users unconscious in the streets and users taken into custody need round-the-clock observation due to their unstable physical and psychological health.
l For more on legal highs visit www.talktofrank.com