Warwickshire Police’s campaign warning people of the dangers of taking psychoactive substances has launched today (Monday December 12).
The campaign, known as Lethal Highs, warns people that the substances formerly known as ‘legal highs’ are neither safe nor legal.
In 2015 114 deaths were registered in England and Wales as a result of psychoactive substances, up from 82 deaths in 2014. In the West Midlands region there were 15 deaths registered in 2014 and six in 2015.
Detective Chief Inspector Ally Wright said: “These potentially lethal substances may have a harmless sounding name, or come in eye-catching packaging, but it certainly doesn’t mean they are safe. As with other drugs, their effects can be devastating.
“We would urge people to never even consider taking them or other illegal drugs. There is no way of you knowing exactly what is in what you are taking, or the impact it will have on you or your friends.
“I want to personally urge everyone to please show their support for this campaign and help get the messages out loud and clear by sharing our material on social media throughout December.”
The campaign follows the introduction of the Psychoactive Substances Act 2016, which bans the production, supply and importation of psychoactive substances.
The definition includes any substance intended for human consumption that is capable of producing a psychoactive effect. Legitimate substances, such as food, alcohol, tobacco, nicotine, caffeine and medical products are excluded.
DCI Wright added: “We will take action where we find people committing offences under this act and want to make sure people are aware of the consequences of breaking the law.
“For example, it is important to note that a supply offence includes giving them away for free to friends and could result in up to seven years in prison.”
Tony Mercer, Public Health England West Midlands health and wellbeing manager, said: “The contents of new psychoactive substances (NPS) frequently change and their effects can be dangerous and unpredictable.
“These substances can cause immediate health problems and lead to dependence, but long-term harms are still largely unknown. For people who experience problems, drug treatment services can help.”
Lethal Highs uses the hashtags #lethalhighs and #notsafenotlegal. More information about the campaign can be found here. Advice and support can be found at www.talktofrank.com