Doncaster health chiefs warn of toll of legal high menace

A selection of legal highs bought in Doncaster.
A selection of legal highs bought in Doncaster.

Health chiefs have raised concerns about the dangers of taking so-called ‘legal highs’ after 10 people in Doncaster were hospitalised in just one month.

Doncaster police are also cracking down on the ‘steady increase’ of people across the borough taking Novel Psychoactive Substances as it as seen as one of the catalysts of antisocial behaviour in the town.

Officers took steps to restrict the procurement of NPS in the town centre by serving ‘head shop’ Heads of Donny – which sold legal highs and paraphernalia – with a closure notice earlier this year.

The move came after some 10 people were admitted to Doncaster Royal Infirmary in March after taking NPS, which are often referred to as ‘legal highs.’

Doncaster Council and the police are now hoping to make taking NPS in the town an offence through the introduction of a Public Spaces Protection Order, the primary aim of which is to prevent anti-social behaviour and related problems from occurring in a specific area.

Chief Inspector Lynne Lancaster, of the Doncaster central local policing team, has warned legal highs are far more dangerous than people realise.

She said: “They can be very dangerous. We don’t like to use the term legal highs because that gives the impression they’re safe, when they’re anything but.

“It’s something we’re taking very seriously.”

Should it go ahead, the PSPO, which is in the consultation stage, would mean people would be prohibited from taking legal highs, as well as illegal drugs, anywhere in the town centre.

Anyone who is found to be in breach of the order could be issued an on-the-spot fine of up to £100, or could have criminal charges brought,

A spokesman for Rotherham Doncaster and South Humber NHS Foundation Trust said the trust is attempting to tackle the issue of people taking NPS.

He told The Star: “Using NPS is something we are seeing steadily increase.

“We provide a range of support and advice for both young people and adults who use NPS and we are part of a multi-agency forum to tackle this issue in Doncaster.”

Young people using NPS can access Project 3 for support.

Drop-in sessions are held at East Laith Gate House, on East Laith Gate, Doncaster. Call 01302 640032 for more details.

Over 18s can attend a drop-in session at Rosslyn House on Thorne Road or call 01302 730956.