SENDING local legal high users for treatment in the UK has cost taxpayers more than £400,000 so far this year.
The figure was revealed after Health and Social Services minister Hunter Adam launched a scathing attack in the States yesterday on retailers who sold the drugs to islanders.
‘Legal highs damage young people’s brains, yet people see fit to sell these things,’ said Deputy Adam.
The department had seen a significant increase in people being referred for treatment because of them, he said.
Health has funded treatment in the UK and incurred expense in providing on-island care for people who have used legal highs. Although the department released no exact figure, Deputy Adam referred to around 30 people.
‘People’s impression that if something has the word “legal” on it then it is safe is wrong,’ he said.
‘They can be extremely harmful. They cause medical problems among the young people who use them. We have limited resources for this group and so several have been referred off-island.’
The department later said that £190,000 was spent on UK-based treatment for adult users of legal highs, while £220,000 was spent on users under 18 years of age.
It would not reveal the number of people involved.
By Thom Ogier
October 28, 2009
This Is Guernsey