Warning as hospitals face spate of ‘legal high’ cases

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A HEALTH warning has been issued after 10 people were hospitalised in a fortnight after using “legal highs2.

The youngest to be taken ill in the spate of incidents in North Lincolnshire over the last two weeks was just 14.

Frances Cunning, director of public health for North Lincolnshire Council, said she feared the area was “just one purchase away from a fatality”.

“Today we are issuing a warning to residents and shopkeepers about the true effects of these substances,” she said.

“Whilst some of these substances may be legal to sell they are not intended for human consumption.

“Others may be packaged as legal but this may not actually be the case; most have not been tested or classified under the Medicines Act.

“The substances cause risky behaviours and can cause permanent damage to health or even death.

“We are advising all parents to be vigilant for any behavioural changes and strongly advise anybody considering taking these substances to seriously reconsider.

“Put in very simple terms we are concerned that we could be just one purchase away from a fatality or serious injury in North Lincolnshire.”

Police are investigating and have made one arrest, she said.

Growing numbers of so-called legal “highs” – which could actually be powerful depressants or hallucinogens – are becoming increasingly available in shops and online.

Lincolnshire Police have previously issued warnings about the substances and one in particular, Exodus Damnation, which is known to be sold in the area and has been involved in some “alarming incidents” in other parts of the country.

In one case, two 17-year-old teenagers who smoked the “herbal incense” using a bong suffered delirium and tried to jump from the stairs and out of windows of the house they were in, police said. When restrained, they had fits and overheated.

In another incident an ambulance crew called officers for back-up after an 18-year-old user became violent and aggressive and bit his father on the face, ripping off his lip and part of his chin.

The ingredients listed on the packaging of Exodus Damnation are those found in garden moss killer and floor paint, police said.

An event raising awareness of the dangers of such substances will be held at the Learning Development Centre on Enderby Road, Scunthorpe, on October 30.

Anyone wishing to attend can contact Nichola Latham on 01724 244660 for more information.

A 24-hour helpline has also been set up. Anyone with concerns about the issue can call 0808 143 0640 for advice and support.