Leicestershire police and trading standards are trying to raise awareness of the dangers of Legal Highs in an operation called OperationNitrox.
The so called ‘legal highs’ are synthetic substances designed by chemists to be used like illegal drugs. Officially called ‘New Psychoactive Substances’ (NPS), they are often sold as ‘research chemicals’ or ‘herbal incense’.
Detective Superintendent Andy Lee is the force lead on substance misuse and in charge of Operation Nitrox, he said “Deaths from using these so called ‘legal highs’ are increasing and we shouldn’t underestimate the danger posed by these substances. Anecdotally we’re beginning to hear that much younger people then we previously thought are experimenting with these chemicals and this has to be addressed.
Operation Nitrox aims to gather information about those selling and using legal highs, educate the community and especially young people on the risks of using them and to target the sale of these substances and disrupt the developing market.
A former drug user, Luke Miller spoke about his experience with legal highs “I’d started smoking this one called ‘Black Mamba’ and within seconds my heart started racing, it got faster and faster. I felt like my heart would explode, then my legs started to buckle”
Luke now works with the Leicestershire Criminal Justice Drug Team where he mentors and helps people with substance misuse problems.
“All drugs are dangerous, but these so called legal highs are constantly being changed to avoid being classified so they’re even more unpredictable”