AMBULANCE crews have spoken out about the dangers posed by ‘legal highs’ like ‘black mamba’, ‘pandora’s box’, ‘ivory wave’ and ‘annihilation’, fearing they could be killer lows.
The items are all psychoactive substances that mimic the effects of controlled drugs with their chemical structures changed.
Paramedics say that while the attractions are clear, the downsides are less well known with effects such as seizures, comas, long term illnesses and in some cases death.
Across the West Midlands, ambulance staff are now regularly having to deal with patients who have taken legal highs.
Paramedic, Cameron McVittie said: “My last job of the night initially coded as a cardiac arrest…thankfully it wasn’t! But it was another case of ‘black mamba’…what is it? It is a legal high that is ‘synthetic cannabis’. It contains chemicals which mimic the effects of their illegal counterparts meaning the risks and side effects are similar.
“In some cases, side effects are unknown due to little testing being done on them. We’re seeing lots of people who have smoked or even eaten ‘Black Mamba’. The fact that it states on packets ‘not for human consumption’ doesn’t seem to matter – better take the advice!”
Fellow paramedic, Jack Lewis, added: “We see some very poorly people who insist on taking legal highs.
“One of the sickest patients I’ve been to took a legal high. They may be ‘legal’ but they are so dangerous.
“We see cases where patients have got an increased heart rate; are feeling on edge or restless; sometimes they are feeling tired or drowsy; feeling sick; having hallucinations and panic attacks as well as convulsions.
“There is also now evidence that their use may increase the risk of later developing psychotic illnesses including schizophrenia.”
For advice on the pros and cons of using legal highs, check out www.talktofrank.com .