POLICE in Sunderland are warning people about the dangers of legal highs.
This comes following recent incidents in the Washington area.
On Saturday, May 25, a 33-year-old man was taken to Sunderland Royal Hospital for observations from the Concord area after taking a legal high and suffering a reaction.
On the same day, police received a report of a 14-year-old boy being taken to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, in Gateshead, from the Jubilee Square area to be checked, again after taking a legal high.
Two boys, aged 16 and 14, were also taken to the QE on Tuesday after being found by police suffering ill effects from legal highs, again in the Jubilee Square area. Both have since been released following medical treatment.
In all cases, Exodus or Exodus Blue is believed to have been taken. Although legal, the substance is sold as an incense to be burned, not consumed. Police in Washington have seized a quantity of this and similar substances for testing.
Neighbourhood officers will also be visiting schools following the half term holidays to reinforce the message about the dangers of legal highs.
Washington Neighbourhood Inspector Paul Stewart said: “While this product can be sold and used legally, it’s an incense to be burned only, not to be consumed as it has been in these cases.
“Being misused in this way has resulted in people needing hospital treatment. Thankfully those involved haven’t suffered any serious damage, but that’s not to say it can’t have a more devastating impact on people’s health.
“The use of legal highs is far from harmless. They can cause symptoms ranging from reduced inhibitions, drowsiness, excited or paranoid states, unconsciousness and seizures. These risks are increased if mixed with alcohol or other stimulants.
“These substances also often contain potentially dangerous chemicals which can prove fatal whichever way they are used so it’s extremely important people avoid them.
“We will be visiting schools in the area to reinforce these messages and make sure young people are aware of the potential dangers of using so-called legal highs.”
Anyone who needs advice on drugs should contact FRANK on 08700 77 6600 or visit www.talktofrank.com