Children in Middlesbrough 'collapsing in school' after using vapes laced with spice

There are reports of children collapsing in school in Middlesbrough after using vapes allegedly laced with illegal drugs. Credit: PA

Children are reportedly collapsing in school after using vapes allegedly laced with drugs, including spice.

Middlesbrough Council issued a warning about the dangers of unregulated vapes following the reports on Teesside.

Dozens of vapes have been confiscated from pupils in Middlesbrough in recent weeks, with a number sent off for testing for class B substances like synthetic cannabinoid spice or THC, the active drug in cannabis.

It is understood some reusable vape pens are being filled with drugs by dealers.

Once filled, the devices are believed to be sold to young people using Snapchat and other social media apps.

Cleveland Police said it had received information about children becoming unwell after using them.

The South Tees Public Health team is warning parents that inhaling spice through a vaping pen can lead to health problems such as breathing difficulties, chest pains, heart palpitations, seizures, extreme anxiety, paranoia, suicidal thoughts, psychosis, vomiting or diarrhoea and acute kidney injury.

In some cases, a single dose can kill.

Middlesbrough Mayor Chris Cooke and Sergeant Daniel Oldroyd with some of the confiscated vapes seized this week. Credit: Middlesbrough Council

Mark Adams, South Tees Joint Director of Public Health, said: “Any illicit vapes are very dangerous, and it’s important we get the message out to the public that unregulated vape pens can cause serious damage to the health of our young people.

“Licensed, regulated vapes containing nicotine are a useful tool to help adults quit smoking but they should not be used by anyone under 18.

“But young people thinking of buying these illicit, home-filled devices online have no idea what has gone into them, and the potential danger they could cause.

“THC and spice are harmful, psychoactive substances that can cause serious health problems and parents need to be vigilant to ensure they do not find their way into the hands of Middlesbrough’s young people.”

Sergeant Daniel Oldroyd, from Cleveland Police, said: “A number of vapes confiscated by local schools have been seized by Cleveland Police officers and some have tested positive for illegal drugs.

“The legal age to use and purchase vapes is 18, however, we know that they are being sold to young people via social media, and these are then being taken into schools.

“Not only is this a health issue, but those possessing and supplying illegal drugs could be committing criminal offences. We are working closely with local schools and partners to share information and intelligence.

“We would also urge parents, guardians and anyone with information they may have about those supplying these vapes to call Cleveland Police on 101.”

Middlesbrough Mayor Chris Cooke said: “Ensuring parents and carers get the message loud and clear that these vapes are incredibly dangerous is vital, to help them keep our young people safe.

“I would urge anyone who has information about these vapes to contact police.”

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