Hartlepool drug charity’s warning over legal highs

Cheap 'legal highs' can be untested, unknown and potentially harmful.
Cheap 'legal highs' can be untested, unknown and potentially harmful.

A Hartlepool-based charity is warning the public of the dangers of cheap legal highs before they become illegal.

The leading UK drug, alcohol and mental health charity Addaction is warning people not to buy cheap novel psychoactive substances – known as legal highs – as outlets try to shift their stock before the law changes.

Each year Addaction works with 50,000 people in 120 locations across England and Scotland. It delivers treatment at the HART Treatment Centre, in Whitby Street, Hartlepool, in partnership with Lifeline, as part of the HART (Hartlepool Action Recovery Team).

The Psychoactive Substances Act 2016 comes into force on April 6 and will make it an offence to produce, supply or offer to supply any psychoactive substance with the exemption of nicotine, alcohol, caffeine and medicinal products.

The main aim of the Act is to shut down shops and websites that currently trade in legal highs to protect people from the risks posed by these untested, unknown and potentially harmful substances.

Outlets selling these products have been sent warning letters informing them that the products will become illegal.

Addaction’s national medicines management pharmacist, Dr Rachel Britton, is concerned that outlets may offer substances at a reduced cost to sell them quickly.

She said: “We want to remind people that these substances can cause all sorts of physical and mental health problems, particularly when taken in combination with other substances.

“We want to make sure people are aware and know they should come to us for support.”

To get advice, call 01429 285000.