Police have issued a stern warning about the dangers of taking so-called ‘legal highs’ after a number of people were rushed to hospital in the past week.
One young Burnley man was rushed to intensive care last Thursday after being ‘spiked’ by a substance called ‘cotton candy carnage’.
Thankfully, he has made a full recovery after being placed in a self-induced coma.
The victim’s dad posted a dramatic picture of his son in intensive care and warned of the dangers of legal highs. His post was shared more than 900 times.
In a separate incident five men from nearby Rochdale also collapsed at the weekend, with one also being kept in hospital in an induced coma, after taking legal highs known as Annihilation and Cherry Bombs.
The warning comes as new legislation came into force this week.The Psychoactive Substances Act now provides a blanket ban on the production, supply and importation of new psychoactive substances.
It is hoped the ban will change the way the police tackle psychoactive substances and will make new drugs that appear on the market illegal quicker than before.
Det. Chief Insp Graham Gallagher said: “Sadly we have seen too many people in Lancashire becoming seriously ill after taking legal highs.
“We are committed to reducing the harm caused by all drugs and welcome an educational and preventative approach in the policing of psychoactive substances.
“Often these substances contain illegal drugs and, when people buy them, they generally have little idea how potent the drug is so they do pose a real danger.
“I would encourage the public to let us know if they believe shops or establishments continue to supply psychoactive substances.”
National Police Chiefs’ Council Lead for New Psychoactive Substances, Commander Simon Bray added: “This new legislation is a very positive step forward.
“It highlights the government’s commitment to supporting law enforcement, including the police, in our efforts to combat dangerous drugs.
“A blanket ban on new psychoactive substances will make it simpler to deal with those drugs which are unsafe but may not yet be controlled. It will also make it easier to tackle so called ‘legal highs’ which may contain mixtures including already illegal drugs.”
A variety of options exist in enforcing this legislation including prohibition notices, premises notices, prohibition orders and premises orders, which allow police or local authorities to require people to stop stocking, selling or supplying psychoactive substances.
Officers have been given powers to stop and search people, vehicles and vessels, enter and search premises in accordance with a warrant, and to seize and destroy psychoactive substances.
While the new Act does not criminalise simple possession of psychoactive substances it will be an offence to possess them within custodial institutions, or anywhere with intent to supply them to another.
It is also an offence to import them, including by buying them from a foreign website.
Operations have been taking place across the county to raise awareness of changes to the law.
Information about psychoactive substances can be reported to the police on 101 or to Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.