Legal Highs – what’s the issue? Date published: 27th October 2015 9.15am

“Legal Highs, they’re ok right? They’re legal so they must be ok.”

On 5 October, Chester Local Policing Unit issued three Community Protection Notices to three shops that sold or distributed legal highs.

Legal highs aren’t as innocent as their name suggests. The effects can often leave users looking lifeless, often in the middle of busy towns and shopping centres.

Legal highs aren’t just the drug of choice those who use illegal drugs. They can entice working professionals (such as landlords, teachers, musicians, managers) just as easily.

One ex legal high user said,

“Legal highs cost me my flat. I’d rather spend my hard earned cash on legal highs, rather than paying my bills or rent.
People think that legal highs are harmless, but they are truly addictive substances. You can never re-create that initial buzz you get from your first hit, so you’re forever chasing the dragon. What was once a fairly cheap addiction could result in you spending £100’s a week.”

Cheshire Police are urging people to steer clear of legal highs and are asking members of the public for their help with regards to tackling drugs in their communities.

Assistant Chief Constable Mark Roberts said,

Legal highs are highly dangerous and can have significant health implications for those who use them. The emergency services have seen an increase in calls regarding legal highs, and it’s a topic that features often in the media.
I want to reassure the communities across Cheshire that we’re here for them, when and where they need us. I want to stress that the police are taking action against sellers/distributors of legal highs through legislative powers under the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014. We want to stop users of legal highs coming to serious harm and protect others from anti-social behaviour, which is often linked to the use.”

Police & Crime Commissioner John Dwyer said,

“It’s worrying to see and hear that people across the county, of all ages, are willing to take the risk of taking these substances. Just because a substance is called a legal high, doesn’t mean that it’s safe - you can never be sure what is in a legal high and what its affects will be. I urge people to think about the potential consequences of their actions before making a potential life changing decision.”

Senior Paramedic for NWAS, Wayne Pemberton said:

These substances are not designed for human consumption and people should not be fooled into thinking they are safe because of their nickname.
“I, myself have witnessed a change in the extremity of the symptoms presented in people who have taken these ‘legal highs,’ such as hallucination, unconsciousness and even respiratory arrest and, as we have no idea what chemicals have gone into the drugs, it can be difficult to know how to treat these patients.
“It is particularly concerning seeing young people take these substances as they become extremely vulnerable and can easily get themselves into dangerous positions as they lose their inhibitions are not in control of their actions.”

To help Cheshire Police tackle drugs, it’s vital that information is passed from communities to local officers. If you have any information regarding legal highs or drugs in your area call 101. Alternatively, information can be left anonymously via Crimestoppers 0800 555 111.