Over the past two weeks emergency services in Staffordshire have dealt with two incidents where people have suddenly collapsed after taking so-called ‘legal highs‘.
On Monday emergency services were called to the Burnthill Lane area of Rugeley after receiving information a 19-year-old had collapsed after reportedly taking ‘black mamba’. He was rushed to hospital and remains in a stable condition.
It is believed the prompt action of a Police Community Support Officer (PCSO) who provided immediate first aid and called for colleagues from West Midlands Ambulance Service may have prevented a more serious outcome.
The three men who collapsed have since recovered.
Ch Insp Jane Hewett, from Staffordshire Police, said: “Despite what people think some of these drugs are actually illegal and certainly dangerous.
“I urge people using these substances to think again, get help and please don’t risk your life.
“In these two incidents the men who have taken such substances have been extremely lucky, despite their initial critical conditions.
“More information about the danger of these drugs, and more information about the law and implications of being caught using these drugs is available from www.talktofrank.com”
Steve Wheaton, Assistant Chief Ambulance Officer at West Midlands Ambulance Service, said: “Legal Highs are proving to be an increasing challenge for our staff.
“As the chemicals are untested, unregulated and are often mixed with alcohol, the effect on the patient can vary considerably which presents very real difficulties for our staff. Those who take the drugs are often not forthcoming with details of what it is that they have taken which makes treatment problematic.
“Very often the effect can lead to the patient suffering extreme highs and lows which can result in patients appearing to be suffering mental health issues at one end of the scale to violence at the other which can lead to the criminal justice system becoming involved.
“Unfortunately, this is an increasing issue for us.”
Tony Mercer, Health Improvement Manager (Drugs and Alcohol) for Public Health England in the West Midlands, said: “The risks from new psychoactive substances, such as synthetic cannabinoids, can be particularly high especially when so little is known about the content, which can be dangerous and in some cases lead to death. If anyone is in trouble after taking an illegal or legal drug, they should call an ambulance or a paramedic straight away.”
For information on drugs, visit the FRANK website: