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West Mercia Police has launched a campaign warning people of the dangers of taking psychoactive substances.

Known as Lethal Highs, the campaign warns people that the substances, formerly known as so-called ‘legal highs’, are neither safe nor legal. Hard-hitting images are being used as part of the awareness drive which launches today (Monday 12 December).

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.*

The campaign, which is being rolled out across the areas served by Warwickshire Police and West Mercia Police, follows the implementation of the Psychoactive Substances Act 2016, which came into force in May.

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 and as the figures show fatal.

“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 and retweeting our material on social media throughout December.”

The Psychoactive Substances Act provides a blanket ban on the production, supply and importation of psychoactive substances; that is 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.

Punishments range from a prohibition notice, which is a formal warning, to seven years in prison.

West Mercia Police is policing the act in a practical and proportionate manner. The force is also placing a great emphasis on an educational and preventative approach, along with partner agencies, and the Lethal Highs campaign is an important part of this.

DCI Wright said: “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 leading on drugs, 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 www.westmercia.police.uk/lethalhighs

Advice and support can be found at www.talktofrank.com

People who have information about the supply of psychoactive substances and other illegal drugs are encouraged to contact us by calling 101, or this information can be passed on anonymously by contacting the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or by visiting www.crimestoppers-uk.org

 *This data comes from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), any further enquiries should be directed to ONS.

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.*

The campaign, which is being rolled out across the areas served by Warwickshire Police and West Mercia Police, follows the implementation of the Psychoactive Substances Act 2016, which came into force in May.

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 and as the figures show fatal.

“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 and retweeting our material on social media throughout December.”

The Psychoactive Substances Act provides a blanket ban on the production, supply and importation of psychoactive substances; that is 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.

Punishments range from a prohibition notice, which is a formal warning, to seven years in prison.

West Mercia Police is policing the act in a practical and proportionate manner. The force is also placing a great emphasis on an educational and preventative approach, along with partner agencies, and the Lethal Highs campaign is an important part of this.

DCI Wright said: “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 leading on drugs, 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 www.westmercia.police.uk/lethalhighs

Advice and support can be found at www.talktofrank.com

People who have information about the supply of psychoactive substances and other illegal drugs are encouraged to contact us by calling 101, or this information can be passed on anonymously by contacting the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or by visiting www.crimestoppers-uk.org

*This data comes from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), any further enquiries should be directed to ONS.

 




Wyre Forest District Council