FEATURE ON ‘LEGAL HIGHS’: Substances sold on our streets

Boston Police Station
Boston Police Station

Police have raised concerns that ‘legal highs’ are now being sold on Boston’s streets - with fears there could be a fatality.

Pc Martyn Chambers said officers have been dealing with ‘a noticable increase’ in usage around the town and the surrounding villages.

Pc Martyn Chambers

Pc Martyn Chambers

“Some of this stuff is nasty,” he said. “These substances can cause heart failure and be lethal.”

A few weeks ago police dealt with a man who had taken a ‘legal high’ and almost died.

“He survived, but only just,” said Pc Chambers. “I’m personally concerned that someone will end up dying because of this stuff.”

Others using ‘legal highs’ have been reportedly so ‘spaced-out’ that they have been wandering in to the road during the day, oblivious to the dangers.

The substances can cause poisonings, mental health issues and even death.

As reported by The Standard last year - concerns were raised about some shops in Boston selling them. After police also raised concerns for people’s health, the traders ceased selling them.

“There aren’t any shops still selling them as far as we are aware - but a lot is coming into the town from the internet and being sold on the street,” explained Pc Chambers. “If you don’t know what’s in the stuff, why on Earth would you want to buy it? It’s sheer stupidity. People who buy this stuff seem to be willing to take that fatal risk.

“The heart rate of people taking these things rockets,” he said. “Breathing difficulties are quite common as well.

“The biggest problem at the moment is people seem to be mixing stuff. So those buying it have no idea what’s in it. When they mix it with something else, I can’t understand that. I think we need a change in the legislation.

“We try to avoid the phrase ‘legal highs’ because it suggests it must be safe - but the packets all say in block letters ‘not fit for human consumption’.”

Many of the substances are not yet controlled under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 but it is illegal to sell them to anyone under the age of 18.

Pc Chambers said the force is working with Trading Standards to crack down on ‘unscrupulous sellers’.

“The sellers are just out to make a quick pound or two,” he said. “They don’t do any checks to see if the person is over 18-years-old.”

To highlight the dangers to young people, Pc Chambers has visited local schools and colleges in the area.

“People using this stuff are usually aged about 16-26 - but it is across all backgrounds and ethnicities,” he said.

It’s not just the police who have to deal with this - the ambulance is often the first on scene as the person will often be seen collapsed from a self-inflicted illness.