North Lincolnshire Council has welcomed plans announced last week in the Queen’s Speech on new laws making it illegal to sell synthetic drugs – as part of the proposed Psychoactive Substances Bill.
The proposed will ban the production or supply of any psychoactive substance unless it is granted a specific exception, such as tobacco, alcohol, medicine, food or drink.
Novel Psychoactive Substances (known as Legal Highs) are a group of drugs that produce similar effects to illegal drugs such as amphetamine, cannabis and ecstasy) but many of these are not yet illegal to use.
The fact that a substance is sold as legal doesn’t mean that it is safe to use. The actual contents can vary so you can never be sure what you are buying – one in five packets have been found to contain an illegal substance.
Some legal highs can be stronger and the effects last longer than illegal drugs. We can safely assume they are dangerous and you never know what effect it will have on you.
Councillor Rob Waltham, cabinet member for Health and Strategic Projects at North Lincolnshire Council, said: “It is important that people are aware of the dangers of taking legal highs. They are dangerous and can lead to death in some cases.
“I welcome plans under the Psychoactive Substances Bill banning the sale of synthetic drugs. This will help enormously in the work we do with our partners in trying to clamp down on people taking legal highs.
“There is a lot of support available to people to help them quit the habit and we are currently developing Personal Social and Health Education (PSHE) lesson plans which have specific references and information on legal highs. These will be delivered within secondary schools and colleges as part of the preventative agenda.
“If anyone is worried about someone they know who may be taking legal highs and would like some advice on what to do, they can call the North Lincolnshire Substance Misuse Team on 07717587579.”
What you need to know about legal highs
Short-term risks of taking legal highs
Increased heart rate and blood pressure up to 200 beats a minute have been recorded, agitation and restlessness, heavy sweating, Headache, disorientation, hyper-thermic collapse, convulsions, seizures, loss of consciousness. Have been directly linked to emergency hospital admissions and, in some cases, deaths.
If you or any of your friends have taken a legal high and become unwell with any of the above symptoms, it is very important to get medical attention straight away by dialling 999 for an ambulance. Tell them what type of drug they have taken and do not leave on their own – wait until medical assistance arrives. If unconscious, put them on their side in the recovery position.
Long-term risks of taking legal highs
Currently we do not know. Due to the ever changing chemicals and compounds used, we can never be sure what has been taken.
These substances must be packaged as ‘Not for Sale to Under 18’s’, taken if pregnant, have mental health problems, heart problems, high blood pressure and other serious health problems. The risk is increased if legal highs are taken alongside alcohol or any other drug including cannabis.
Some so called legal highs contain banned/illegal substances, which can be tested for when people enter police custody and could lead to a criminal sanction for a drugs offence. This can affect your future employment prospects and overseas travel (obtaining a visa to enter some countries).
Like drinking and driving, driving while under the influence of drugs, including legal highs is illegal. With some legal highs, you could still be unfit to drive the day after using due to their longer lasting effects. You can get a heavy fine, be disqualified from driving or even go to prison.
What we do locally/help available
In North Lincolnshire, drug services offer a range of support to help individuals to reduce and stop their legal high use, including awareness around the risks, motivational interventions to help reduce and stop. Information leaflets aimed at drug users, parents and carers have been produced containing up-to-date information and risks of the potential harms.
Bespoke training packages are available – aimed at professionals, schools and colleges.
For further information or to talk to someone in confidence, please contact:
DELTA Young People’s Substance Misuse service under 19’s Monday to Thursday 9am to 5pm, Friday 9am to 4.30pm on 01724 298528 (answerphone available to leave a message out of hours)
Step Forward – Adult Substance Misuse Service, who have a direct access at Shelford House, Shelford street Monday to Friday 1pm (24 hour number 08081430640)
FRANK: Drug information website - click here – (tel: 0800776600)
Queens Speech – Psychoactive substances Bill
Psychoactive substance means any substance which:
Is capable of producing a psychoactive effect on a person who consumes it
The Bill had its first reading in the House of Commons on 28 May and will have its second reading in the House of Lords on 9 June 2015
The psychoactive substances bill bans the production or supply of any psychoactive substance unless it is granted a specific exception, such as tobacco, alcohol, medicine, food or drink.
The bill defines ‘psychoactive’ as something that by ‘stimulating or depressing the person’s central nervous system, affects the person’s mental functioning or emotional state’.