Police across Manchester are launching a force-wide clamped down on sellers of legal highs.
More than 150 officers across Greater Manchester Police will visit more than 100 premises to ensure that they are abiding by the law, as well as visiting areas associated with the use of New Psychoactive Substances (NPS), to check young people are safe and well.
Operation Ramsey is the first of its kind for GMP and tackles the growing concerns over NPSs.
Police officers will be accompanied by Trading Standards and other partners including the Department for Work and Pensions on visits to ensure retailers are abiding by the law.
NPSs have the same or similar effects as drugs such as cocaine and ecstasy, but are not controlled under the Misuse of Drugs Act.
Side effects from these substances are common and can include heart palpitations, vomiting, dizziness, fainting, panic attacks and psychosis. They are often designed to mimic class A drugs, but are structurally different enough to avoid them being classified as illegal substances. Taking these substances can lead to other
However, some ‘legal highs’ contain substances which are banned and it is also against the law to sell them to anyone under the age of 18.
Just last week five people collapsed and were hospitalised in Bury following an adverse reaction after taking the drug known as ‘Spice’.
Superintendent Craig Thompson said: “There are growing concerns around these so-called ‘legal highs’ and we’ve seen a number of young people hospitalised following their use.
“What we want to instil in people is that just because these substances are legal, doesn’t mean that they are safe and I would urge people not to buy or take and consider the danger they pose. Don’t play Russian Roulette with your life.”
Greater Manchester Police and Crime Commissioner Tony Lloyd said a growing number of people were putting their lives in danger because of the misconception that a legal drug must be a safe one.
He added: “We are seeing an increasing number of calls to Greater Manchester Police in relation to the misuse of dangerous drugs branded as so-called ‘legal highs’.
“All too often these drugs end up in the hands of young people who have no idea what it is they are taking or what it will do to them.
“All agencies must come together – police, health and trading standards – to stem this tide, educate people about the risks they are taking, and – ultimately – save lives.”
Members of the public wishing to report a shop selling these products are advised to contact the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 03454 04 05 06 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111. For help or advice on all drugs including Legal Highs contact ‘Talk to Frank’ on 0800 776600 www.talktofrank.com.
Picture courtesy of Schorle, with thanks.