POLICE have launched a campaign warning of the dangers of ‘lethal highs’.
They are targeting people tempted to take psychoactive substances – so-called ‘lethal highs’ which were formerly known as ‘legal highs’. They have been illegal since May.
There were 114 recorded deaths in England and Wales in 2015 as a result of taking such substances, up from 82 the previous year. In the West Midlands there were 15 deaths in 2014 and six in 2015.
Det Ch Insp Ally Wright said: “These potentially lethal substances may have a harmless sounding name, or come in eye-catching packaging, but it certainly doesn’t mean they are safe. As with other drugs, their effects can be devastating and as the figures show fatal.
“We would urge people to never even consider taking them or other illegal drugs. There is no way of you knowing exactly what is in what you are taking, or the impact it will have on you or your friends.
“I want to personally urge everyone to please show their support for this campaign and help get the messages out loud and clear by sharing and retweeting our material on social media throughout December.”
The Psychoactive Substances Act provides a blanket ban on the production, supply and importation of psychoactive substances – that is any substance intended for human consumption capable of producing a psychoactive effect. Legitimate substances, such as food, alcohol, tobacco, nicotine, caffeine and medical products are excluded. Punishments range from a prohibition notice, which is a formal warning, to seven years in prison.
DCI Wright added: “We will take action where we find people committing offences under this act and want to make sure people are aware of the consequences of breaking the law. For example, it is important to note that a supply offence includes giving them away for free to friends and could result in up to seven years in prison.”
Hard-hitting posters are being used in the campaign ahead of the Christmas party season.
Tony Mercer, Public Health England West Midlands drugs spokesman, said: “The contents of new psychoactive substances frequently change and their effects can be dangerous and unpredictable.
“These substances can cause immediate health problems and lead to dependence, but long-term harms are still largely unknown. For people who experience problems, drug treatment services can help.”
Visit www.warwickshire.police.uk/lethalhighs for further details.
Advice and support can be found at www.talktofrank.com People who have information about the supply of psychoactive substances and other illegal drugs can call 101, or anonymously via Crimestoppers by visiting www.crimestoppers-uk.org or calling 0800 555111.