Legal highs on the rise in Cumbria

The number of incidents Cumbria Police is attending involving the misuse of legal highs is on the rise. In 2009 officers dealt with just one incident, but last year that figure had risen to 22. Incidents range from possession of a legal high, to behaviour resulting from taking a legal high.

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Legal highs: The term "legal" 'does not equate to safe'

One of the UK’s biggest drug and alcohol charities, CRI, has warned that the UK is ‘only scratching the surface’ and underestimating the serious public health challenge posed by ‘legal high’ misuse.

The charity has taken a leading role in treating and educating young people on the dangers of taking these substances, which it calls ‘strange molecules’.

It offers support to people via its services across the UK.

Its drop-in clinics are seeing a rise of people using synthetic cannabinoids like ‘Spice’, Mephedrone, MDMA, ketamine, Poke and Euphoria. Many of these substances are freely available in shops located on the high street, as well as online.

“We believe that the common term of ‘legal high’ is incredibly misleading; legal does not equate to safe, and some substances which were legal have now been classified.

"Some of these substances are highly potent and can be very risky, possibly up to 10,000 times stronger than the street drugs they emulate, with tiny amounts able to trigger extreme psychoactive responses."

– David Biddle, Chief Executive of CRI

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