Drugs specialists in Blackpool have expressed concerns over ‘legal highs’ after a spike in the number of people suffering the effects of mind-altering substances.
Legal substances such as ‘Spice’, ‘Clockwork Orange’ and ‘Charly Sheen’ – syntheticsubstances made from dried plant material and herbs laced with chemicals – can potentially cause seizures, unconsciousness, and even death.
Now experts fear the super-cheap substances pose a high risk to on lower incomesdue to their cost.
Aldo Errico, drugs and alcohol intervention trainer at Horizon Substance Misuse Service Blackpool, said his team was now dealing with more people using the substances than than ever before.
He added: “Legal highs are super powerful and the chemicals are at a different level each time. The effects are completely unpredictable.
“They’re sold in brightly -coloured packets and they all look very much like the ‘real thing’, except they’re much cheaper.
“‘One mimics cocaine and is sold for a quarter of the price.
“Because of the price they are becoming more popular with people who are homeless or disenfranchised by society.
“They are often drug users or ex-drug users.
“They see that it’s legal and think it must be safe to use, but it’s not.
“Legal highs are without question more powerful than natural drugs, and are potentially more dangerous.
“If you do not have enough food or drink in your system, or if you are unwell, there’s the potential it could kill you.
“We have been dealing with a significant increase in the number of people suffering the effects of legal highs.”
A spokesman for Blackpool Council said that they were taking steps to crack down on legal highs by shutting down legal high shops and introducing a Community Spaces Protection Order to prevent people taking them in the town centre.
Five such shops have already been forced to close their doors.
Gillian Campbell, deputy leader of Blackpool Council, said: “Legal highs are a scourge and, in my opinion, selling them is no better than drug dealing.
“Those selling them are capitalising on the vulnerability of people with pre-existing addictions.”