TEENAGERS have been warned to stay away from legal highs after a 16-year-old boy who used them “nearly died”.
Police are now warning residents of the dangers of legal highs, after the Bridlington youngster took a substance – which the police say was the now banned legal high Black Mamba – collapsed, began to fit and was rushed to hospital.
The boy has now recovered and has been released from hospital but police hope that his story will keep others in the town from trying legal highs.
However the owner of the Bridlington shop where the substances were bought says it was not Black Mamba, but another substance known as Afghan Black, which was sold. He says it is sold as an incense with a warning that it is not for human consumption.
Sgt Carl Sweeting, of Bridlington’s Neighbourhood Policing Team, said he was “gravely concerned” about youngsters using legal highs.
He said: “The shop which sold the drug to the boys had not done anything illegal at the time, and therefore I want people who use or are considering using legal highs to take note of the dangers of taking an unsafe drug.
“Just because the term ‘legal high’ is used to categorise the type of drug, legal does not mean safe. These drugs are not tested, regulated and we do not necessarily know what the effects will be.
“The police and other emergency services are being called to incidents more and more where people have used a legal high and had an adverse effect.”
The owner of the shop, which is based in Bridlington, told the Free Press: “I have kids myself and I do feel bad for the lad who has been ill and his family.
“The products are labelled as incense with warnings that they are not for human consumption. We also ID everyone as these products cannot be sold to under 18s. I wasn’t in the day it was sold but there’s not much I can do if older friends are buying these things.
“If things are banned and they’re not legal, then they’re taken off the shelf.”
After taking the substance on Friday October 31, the teenager collapsed and started to fit. He was rushed into the Accident and Emergency Unit at Scarborough Hospital, where he was admitted, put on a drip and monitored for several hours. The boy was later discharged from hospital, however his parents were so concerned about the adverse effects of the legal highs, they contacted Humberside Police.
Sgt Sweeting said: “We would hope that parents are pro-active in keeping their kids away from things like this.
“The boy involved, and I believe his friends too, are now very anti-drugs, legal or not. He nearly died, so hopefully that message will spread.
“The police’s hands are tied. We can advise of the dangers but we cannot stop people doing them in front of us.
“The Government are trying to catch up and ban things but they are often one step behind and something else comes along and takes its place when one thing is banned.”
Sgt Sweeting said that as the substances are not illegal, police do not have figures showing how widespread their use is in Bridlington.
He said the drug mephedrone - once legally available and known as M-Kat - is now the drug of choice in the town.
“It has been legal, so people think it must be safe. It isn’t, and that is the case with those still legal.”
The Government recently announced that two legal highs ‘Black Mamba’ and ‘Mexxy’ are to be made illegal and become a class B drug.
As class B substances under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, users of the two substances will face heavy fines and up to five years in prison, while suppliers could be jailed for up to 14 years.
l What do you think? Is the use of legal highs rife in Bridlington? Are they a danger? Let us know by emailing us at email@example.com leaving a message on our Facebook page, or tweeting @BridFreePress
You can also contact the newsdesk by phone on 01262 677338, or send a letter to 3 Prospect Street, Bridlington, YO15 2AQ.