Wakefield police warn of dangers of legal highs in the city

DANGEROUS SUBSTANCES Wakefield Council to tackle use of legal highs.
DANGEROUS SUBSTANCES Wakefield Council to tackle use of legal highs.

Police are warning people of the dangers of so-called legal highs as they continue to tackle the growing use of the substances in the city.

West Yorkshire Police is working alongside Wakefield Council to highlight the harmful effects taking the chemicals can cause.

Last year 19 young people in the city received treatment for using new psychoactive substances (NPS) – an increase from five the previous year.

The number of UK deaths linked to the chemicals has also risen in recent years – from 10 in 2009 to 68 in 2012.

Legal highs are new substances that are not yet controlled under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 and mimic the effects of illegal drugs such as cocaine and ecstasy.

A new working group has been set up to warn people about the dangers of using legal highs.

Insp Ian Williams, Wakefield Police’s neighbourhood inspector, said: “The working group seeks to unite a number of departments from across the partnership to address our concerns around so called legal highs.

“There are implications for the welfare of vulnerable young people, crime and health as well as the appearance and reputation of the city.

“This is an emerging issue which we have already made huge steps to tackle and been quite successful.

“However it is only by working together that we can achieve a legal high-free zone in Wakefield and protect people from these potentially dangerous substances which could otherwise be freely available.”

NPS are on sale openly on websites and high streets across the country.

The chemicals are made on an industrial scale in countries like China and India and then packaged and distributed throughout Europe.

Suppliers can sell many of them legally as long as they write “not for human consumption” on the packets.

The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addictions found there had been a significant increase in the number of legal highs being sold in the country after 280 new substances were identified between 2005 and 2012.