A hospital chief has warned of the dangers of youngsters taking potentially killer drugs after a rise in children as young as 12 attending A&E for taking illegal substances.
North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust says there has been a worrying number of people aged 12 to 16 needing treatment suffering the affects of taking drugs in recent days.
Trust chiefs say they have found young people have taken drugs including gabapentin, amitriptyline, diazepam and cocaine.
The trust’s top A&E consultant says these drugs can kill or make people seriously ill and in his work he has seen people die after taking amitriptyline.
Andy Simpson, who is in charge of accident and emergency services at the University Hospital of North Tees, which treats people from Hartlepool, East Durham and Stockton, has now warned young people to steer clear of drugs.
Mr Simpson who, as well as being a consultant in emergency care medicine, heads up the accident and emergency department at the Stockton hospital, said: “We’ve seen a worrying number of young people between the ages of 12 and 16 in the department in the last few days suffering from the effects of taking recreational drugs.
Please do not take these drugs. They can make you seriously ill of kill you.Andy Simpson
“The main drugs young people coming in tell us they’ve taken in varying amounts are gabapentin, amitriptyline, diazepam and cocaine.
“While these are prescription drugs they are drugs of abuse in the wrong hands and one is Class A drug. The drugs are also very likely to have mixed with other harmful substances.
“These drugs can lead to serious breathing difficulties and can lead to people needing to be ventilated. As an A&E doctor I have also seen deaths from young people taking amitriptyline.
“While taking these drugs can be seen as a bit of fun, it is definitely not that in my view.
“We are appealing to younger people, please do not take these drugs. They can make you seriously ill or even kill you. It’s just not worth taking the risk.”