A CONCERNED mum is warning parents to keep a close eye on their youngsters after expressing fears over contaminated drugs on sale in Hartlepool.
The mum, who does not want to be named, claims a batch of temazepam tablets doing the rounds in the town contain heroin.
The woman says she has endured "hell" after her teenage son took some and landed himself in trouble with the police which saw him sent to a young offenders' centre.
She said: "I am extremely worried about the situation, in particular its effect on young people and their families.
"I recently endured a week from hell with my son, who has now been sent to a young offenders' as a result of his actions while taking these tablets.
"I am also aware of other parents who have recently had a lot of problems with their teenagers who have also taken them.
"These dealers are selling this muck on the streets, and it's wrecking lives.
"I only hope it doesn't take a a young person to die before something is done about it.
"These tablets are temazepan, which the kids are taking to get high.
The name used by the youngsters for these tablets is blues, and I have been informed that there is a contaminated batch in Hartlepool which contains heroin.
"The taking of these tablets either contaminated or not has extremely negative effects on people, acting out of character and committing crimes that would not have occured had they not been under the influence.
"The effect that a youngster can have on the rest of their family while under the influence is also of great concern, with some young people turning aggressive within the home.
"I've experienced it with my son, and the effects can last for hours."
The mum has spoken out to warn other parents of the dangers, and fears a teenager dabbling with the drug could end up hooked on heroin in the long-term.
She added: "I strongly believe that it is important to make this problem public within the Hartlepool community.
"People taking the drugs may be oblivious to the fact that they may be taking something containing heroin.
"I also believe that parents should be made aware of the signs to look for if they suspect their child to be taking such drugs."
Chris Hart, drug and alcohol manager for the Safer Hartlepool Partnership, said: "The supply of drugs that are being persistently contaminated with other high-risk substances is a growing concern not just in Hartlepool, but across the rest of the country.
"The intelligence that we receive from drug-users and partner agencies reveals that most dealers are obnoxiously creating lethal concoctions that contain a mixture of all sorts of chemicals which are being unknowingly supplied to vulnerable individuals.
"Misusing any drug can have fatal consequences. However taking a contaminated substance can increase the risk of health complications such as overdose and in some cases even death.
"The Safer Hartlepool Partnership is working hard to ensure that up-to-date information is distributed about the dangers of misusing substances across the town and we urge anyone thinking of experimenting with an unknown substance not to take the risk."
If you need support for drug or alcohol misuse contact either drug services on (01429) 285000 or alcohol services on (01429) 285690 for more information.
Cleveland Police are keen to hear from anyone who has information about contaminated drugs, or any other illegal substances, and can be contacted anonymously on (01642) 302185 or (01642) 302181.