REVELLERS in Colchester are risking their lives by taking dog-worming tablets, plant food and metal cleaning fluids to get high.
The town’s Pubwatch group heard there are growing concerns about the dangers of so-called legal highs, taken to mimic the effect of illegal drugs.
Steve Wood, manager of the Open Road drug and alcohol treatment service, based in Queen Street, said use of chemicals, such as GBL, which is used to clean alloy wheels but creates the same effect as ecstasy in small doses, is rising.
He added: “If you inject 0.4mg of GBL, you could cut someone open, take their intestines out and they wouldn’t feel anything.
“This is just one of the chemicals you can get legally and cheaply on the internet.
“An increasing amount of people are using them, but it’s based on a lot of disinformation.
“We know how people react on cocaine and ecstasy, but legal highs can be very different. People taking drugs and mixing with people drinking in pubs cause problems because it influences how they react to each other.”
Mr Wood said legal highs were often used to spike drinks, which victims had described as “like an out-of-body experience”.
He added: “It leaves you feeling faint and sick and the person who has spiked the drink will recognise the signs and take advantage while pretending to look after someone.
“But people spike each other’s drinks for fun as well as the more sinister reasons.”
Ralph Davis, of the Brewers’ Arms, in Osborne Street, said it was hard to counter spiking, when drinkers in his pub had to leave their drinks behind if they go outside to smoke after 10pm.
He added: “It’s a condition of our licence. I’m really concerned about the risk of spiking and trying to get the licence changed.”
Damien Stone, manager of Escape nightclub, in London Road, Copford, said a cabinet in the venue’s reception area could be used for people to leave their drinks if they go outside for a cigarette.
Insp Paul Butcher, from Colchester town neighbourhood policing team, advised pubs to call police if they found anyone with suspicious powders or tablets.
He said: “We can arrest them on suspicion of possesion of drugs and, even if they are found to be legal chemicals, we have spoiled their night out.”
November 27, 2009