PARTYGOERS are being warned not to spoil their festive celebrations by taking illegal substances.
Some 'legal high' drugs have now been relabelled as illegal. But at least one highly dangerous substance is still within the law.
And police are urging revellers to steer clear.
Just before Christmas, a group of what were termed 'legal highs' were classified as Class B and C drugs - making them illegal.
Force drugs co-ordinator Bryan Dent said: "The government became so concerned about the adverse health effects of a number of substances, they have made them illegal to possess or supply."
Recently, a smoking/ herbal mixture known as SPICE became popular. SPICE has been found to have been treated with a chemical which mimics the effects of THC – the ingredient found in cannabis.
Mr Dent said: "SPICE was legal to sell and possess, usually from Head Shops and the internet. But now anyone found selling or in possession of SPICE which has been treated with certain chemicals is committing an offence for which they can be arrested. SPICE has become a Class B drug."
GBL (Gamma – Butyrolactone ) – although this colourless, oily liquid has a bona fide industrial use as a paint/varnish stripper and stain remover, it has also become popular on the recreational scene.
Mr Dent said: "Possessing or selling GBL for human consumption is now a criminal offence. Its effects when taken can be deadly – especially alongside alcohol."
Other substances now illegal to possess and sell include BZP and certain anabolic steroids.
Mr Dent said: "We want partygoers to enjoy themselves, but also stay healthy. We don't get pleasure from informing parents and loved ones that their son or daughter has become seriously ill or died because they have been consuming drugs thought to be harmless. There is no such thing as a harmless drug."
Mephedrone, also known as M Cat or Meow, is also giving police cause for concern.
It is usually a white powder but is in fact plant food. It can be taken orally or snorted, but it is harsh on the nostrils and causes severe nose bleeds. It can cause blurred vision, increased perspiration and increased risks of fits and seizures, breathlessness and high blood pressure.
Mr Dent said: "Although it is not a controlled drug, in other words not illegal to possess, it is dangerous for humans to consume. A number of people have taken it and ended up in hospital."
December 30, 2009