High school pupils were given a stark reminder of the dangers of “legal” highs when they heard about a teenager’s terrifying brush with death.
New Psychoactive Substances (NPS) were the subject of a presentation school liaison officer Constable Iain Taylor gave fourth year pupils at Denny High School last week.
To hammer home the anti-NPS message PC Taylor showed them a video featuring a 14-year-old boy from Wales who said he “felt cold” just minutes after taking a legal high and then felt his own heart stop.
The youngster ended up being rushed to intensive care.
PC Taylor made his message quite clear - do not take legal highs.
But if someone does take them and has a bad reaction, their friends must call for medical assistance straight away.
PC Taylor told pupils: “People can take an adverse reaction to legal highs very quickly and since we don’t know what’s in them it’s more difficult for medical staff to treat.
“Some deaths have been linked to people taking legal highs, so the term legal high does not mean the substances are safe. These packets are clearly marked as not for human consumption - although people are still taking them - and that’s how the producers bypass the safety checks other substances have to go through.
“This talk will explain why it is actually misleading to call them legal highs.”
During the hour-long interactive talk, which will be rolled out to the rest of the school next term, it was stated the long-term mental health of people who take NPS could be permanently impaired.
PC Taylor said: “These substances are psychoactive and effect a person’s mental process. NPS producers try to mimic illegal drugs, put them in fancy packaging, sell them as plant food or bath salts and give them names like China White which lead people to associate them with cocaine.
“If they produce similar effects to drugs like heroin and cocaine then they also must carry the same risks.”
PC Taylor told pupils a Bill is currently going through the UK Parliament which will make legal highs illegal when it is passed, hopefully later this year.
He said: “NPS are not controlled under the misuse of drugs act, but we can still confiscate them if we find someone carrying because we do not know what is in them. We send the substance to be analysed and if there is any trace of an illegal drug in it then we take legal action.”