Legal Highs

New Psychoactive Substances (NPS) – You may know them as Legal Highs

Legal Highs packaging2

What are they?

A ‘legal high’ is a psychoactive substance or chemical high, that mimics the effect of controlled drugs such as cocaine, ecstasy and cannabis.  They can be ingested or smoked. Many are now controlled by the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, making it a criminal offence to produce, import, export, possess or supply except under licence.  Many others are not controlled, however it does not mean they are safe.

The Psychoactive Substances Act received Royal Assent on 28 January 2016. The Act which applies across the whole of the UK came into force on 26 May 2016.

The Act:

  • makes it an offence to produce, supply, offer to supply, possess with intent to supply, possess on custodial premises, import or export psychoactive substances; that is, any substance intended for human consumption that is capable of producing a psychoactive effect. The maximum sentence will be 7 years’ imprisonment
  • excludes legitimate substances, such as food, alcohol, tobacco, nicotine, caffeine and medical products from the scope of the offence, as well as controlled drugs, which continue to be regulated by the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971
  • exempts healthcare activities and approved scientific research from the offences under the act on the basis that persons engaged in such activities have a legitimate need to use psychoactive substances in their work
  • includes provision for civil sanctions – prohibition notices, premises notices, prohibition orders and premises orders (breach of the 2 orders will be a criminal offence) – to enable the police and local authorities to adopt a graded response to the supply of psychoactive substances in appropriate cases
  • provides powers to stop and search persons, vehicles and vessels, enter and search premises in accordance with a warrant, and to seize and destroy psychoactive substances

Are they Safe?

Those that are not illegal still have serious side effects such as breathing difficulties, heart palpitations, paranoia, psychosis, hallucinations, seizures, comas and even death. They take the form of powders, pills and herbal smoking material and look similar to the controlled drugs that they mimic.

How dangerous are these drugs?

BBC Newsnight investigated legal highs and their dangers.

There were a number of deaths in the UK during 2013; both as a result of direct use, or NPS were found to be a contributory factor. There have also been a number of near misses in Suffolk.

What do they contain?

Benzylpiperazine (BZP) (Class C) normally a white or off white powder this also includes related piperazines compounds such as TFMPP, DBZB, mCPP, the effects are talkative, decreased appetite, agitation, anxiety, paranoia, vomiting, fits or seizures, collapse and difficulty in sleeping.

Gamma – Butyrolactone (GBL) this is very similar to GHB and converts to GHB shortly after entering the body, it can be lethal with alcohol, users experience feelings of euphoria, reduced inhibitions, arousal, drowsiness, nausea, reduced heart rate, hypothermia, unconsciousness, coma and death. It comes in an oily colourless liquid, its main use is an industrial solvent in the chemical industry GBL and related chemical 1,4-BD are (Class C drugs when intended for human ingestion).

Synthetic cannabinoids (Class B) there are many hundreds of these synthetic cannabinoids, a herbal like substance is sprayed with various chemicals in turn giving the effect of THC which leads to the same effects as would be experienced by the use of cannabis.

Methadrone also known as Mephedrone (not to be confused with Methadone) (Class B) similar to but slightly less effect than MDMA, we have had one death in Suffolk where this substance was found as a result of a toxicology test, there has also been reported overdoses in Suffolk.

Don’t Take the Risk

Police Forces and other law enforcement agencies from both the UK and in Europe are sharing intelligence on this ever growing area of work in order to determine any risks posed.

There is evidence to suggest that consumption can cause adverse effects on heart and blood vessels, risk of dependence and psychosis and anxiety effects and the higher potency of the chemical poses a higher risk of accidental overdose.

There appears to a trend with young people trying some of the new substances for their own enjoyment with a desire to achieve a relaxing , hallucinogenic or  stimulating effect and another of a more older user, using for the stimulating and often for sexual purposes. Unfortunately in the user’s opinion and their understanding the word legal means safe, the opposite often applies.

Where are they being sold?

The drugs or chemicals have numerous trade names but it is the chemical name that may decide if it is controlled or not. It is difficult to determine if the substance is controlled or not without forensic analysis and it is possible to have two identical packets supplied by the same company, one may be controlled and one may not be controlled.

Legal Highs packaging

Legal Highs, or New Psychoactive Substances (NPS), are often sold as research chemicals, bath salts, room odourisers and plant food.  They are often sold on market stalls, at festivals and head shops which also sell other drug paraphernalia and are also available over the internet. They are also advertised not for human consumption.  All this is all done to circumnavigate the law.

Suffolk Constabulary are working with Trading Standards to stamp out all supplies of this type of product in Suffolk using various powers to include the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 and The General (Product) Safety Regulations 2005 with some success.

There are 100’s of trade names to numerous to mention, names such as Pulse ultra, Ivory Wave, Ex-ses Platinum, Jamaican Ghanja, Super Skunk Extra Strength, Doves, Vanilla Sky, Recharge Extra, Solar, Amsterdam Gold, Ocean Burst, Ice Bud Super Cold, are examples of the ones that have been seized, Exodus Damnation, Clockwork Orange, Black Mamba, NBOMe, Benzo Fury, Meadow Sweet there are many more.

Please inform Trading Standards if you see these products being sold by calling their Helpline on 08454 040506.  If you have any other issues or concerns you can report these to Suffolk Police: KeepingUsInformed@suffolk.pnn.police.uk

What does the future hold?

The Government are currently researching the best way to deal with this long term problem. As soon as they control one legal high another one appears and we clearly need your help in getting the message out that these substances are not safe.  Many are illegal, please consider the consequences before you buy and consume, a criminal conviction will hinder your long term prospects such as career and employment, but more importantly consider the health implications that may be caused  by ingesting or smoking these products.

We need your help

To help the Government make their decision many organisations and individuals are encouraged to share their experiences and knowledge of legal highs:

  • Who is using them?
  • Where are they buying them?
  • What effects do they get and how much they cost?

There are a number of ways you can help with the gathering of this information:

  • Share information with Suffolk Police, which will be treated in confidence
  • If you would like to discuss any aspect of psychoactive substances please contact the Controlled Drug Liaison Officer at Suffolk Constabulary email  robin.pivett@suffolk.pnn.police.uk  or telephone 01473 613500 Ext 2869 or mobile 07979 178664
  • More drug awareness information can be found on the Frank website.

Please Remember

  • Many are illegal and likely to cause you serious harm or even death.
  • Smoking or ingesting Legal Highs may cause you serious harm; you may also be committing an offence THINK before you do die! 
  • Do you know what’s in those packets, THINK! Before you smoke or ingest, Legal Highs are unsafe and can cause serious health problems or even worse

Legal Highs1

Our emphasis is firmly placed on keeping Suffolk residents, especially young people, safe from any harm that the use of these substances may cause in the future, whilst at the same time do all we can to disrupt the supply both on a local and national basis.

Protect against Marine Crime

When the weather is fine many people enjoy spending time on our beautiful rivers, lakes or on the coast.  However if you own a vessel, have you taken measures to secure it when it’s not in use?

Marine Crime

Here are a few ways in which you can make your boat and equipment more secure and safe:

  • Suffolk Police has a number of Marine Watch schemes across the county, which operate in a similar manner to Neighbourhood Watch Boat Shield
  • To help stamp out boat crime Suffolk and Norfolk Police have also joined forces with local boatyards, chandlers, clubs and groups and launched BoatShield. If you are a boat owner, look out for BoatShield information point within boatyards, chandlers, as well as at boating clubs and groups across the Waveney Area.
  • If you are unlucky enough to have a boat or equipment stolen, you can register  the theft with StolenBoats.org.uk. Contact your local Police or Insurers and ask that they add the item on your behalf. StolenBoats is an online database, all the information is provided by the marine Insurance industry and the Police and is cross-checked with the Police National Computer.
  • Fire Safety on BoatsWhilst fire is unlikely on a boat that is well maintained to minimum safety standards, it is a grave concern to boaters who can be caught unawares or in a situation where escape is difficult.

Below are a few tips to help keep you, your boat and your property safe:

  • Keep your boat keys separate from your engine keys
  • Don’t leave your keys in the ignition – always take them with you
  • Always keep your boat locked when no-one is on board
  • Never leave anything valuable in display
  • Don’t leave anything loose in the cockpit or on deck
  • Use strong padlocks or rim locks on all your hatches, entry points and cockpit lockers
  • Keep a list of all the serial numbers on valuables and property mark them with your home postcode and register them on Immobilise.
  • Remember to review and improve the security on your boat regularly. Locks will need replacing as well as property marking your valuables
  • Remove outboards during winter months

The RNLI and the Boat Safety Scheme also have lots of helpful and useful safety and sailing advice and information.

And remember, always wear a lifejacket or buoyancy aid at all times
whilst on the boat or near the water’s edge

 

Staying Safe at home during Warmer Weather

Whilst many of us enjoy the sun and hot weather, we should make sure we do it safely. We also need to remember that certain groups of people, including the elderly and vulnerable, are more at risk of the effects of heat, and for some it can become dangerous to their health.

Dont get burnt postcard

 

We have some information and guidance here about the best way to stay safe whilst enjoying the weather. Please share the information with friends and family and with any elderly/vulnerable neighbours, particularly if they are on their own.

 

General Advice:
  • Keep out of the sun between 11am and 3pm
  • If you go out in the heat walk in the shade, apply sunscreen and wear a hat and a light scarf
  • Avoid extreme physical exertion
  • Wear light, loose fitting cotton clothes
  • Have plenty of cold drinks and avoid excess alcohol, caffeine and hot drinks
  • Eat cold foods particularly salads and fruit with a high water content
  • Take a cool shower bath or body wash
  • Sprinkle water over the skin or clothing, or keep a damp cloth on the back of your neck
  • Keeping your living space cool is especially important, particularly for the elderly or those with chronic health conditions or those who can’t look after themselves
  • Place a thermometer in your main living room and bedroom to keep a check on the temperature
  • Keep windows that are exposed to the sun closed during the day and open windows at night when the temperature has dropped
  • Close curtains that receive morning or afternoon sun
  • Turn off non-essential lights and electrical equipment
  • Keep indoor plants and bowls of water in the house as evaporation helps cool the air
  • If possible move into cooler room, especially for sleeping

Look Out for Others:

  • Keep an eye on isolated, elderly or ill people to make sure they are able to keep cool
  • Ensure elderly people and pets are not left alone in stationary cars
  • Check on elderly or sick neighbours, family or friends every days during a heat wave
  • Be alert and call a doctor or 111, the NHS Non-emergency service, if someone is unwell or when further help is needed

Additional Useful Information:

Having a Barbeque?  

BBQYou might take the opportunity during warmer weather to enjoy eating outside and possibly have a barbeque. However, barbecues are involved in many hundreds of accidents in gardens each year, so please be aware of the advice and information given by ROSPA.

How can I prepare if a heat-wave is predicted?

Each year the Met Office operates a heat health watch system in England between 1 June to 15 September in association with Public Health England.

 

Above All, what ever you are doing have a

great time and Stay Safe

Staying Safe at Outside Events – May/June 2016

Watching your favourite singer or band from the comfort of your armchair is great, but there’s nothing like being there live on the day. Tickets to big entertainment and sporting events sell out very quickly, which is very disappointing when you’ve really been looking forward to the big day.

This can make it very tempting to buy them from sources other than official websites. If your ticket is found not to be genuine you will be refused entry.  Here is some advice about purchasing tickets from Get Safe Online.

There are a number of great music events and festivals taking place in and around Suffolk in 2016, you may also be travelling out of County to events too.  We would like to encourage you to take a few minutes to think about your personal and property safety at these events, so in partnership with Suffolk Police, we have produced the ‘staying safe’ messages below. This information is also relevant for any/all large events.

Some of events you may be planning on attending during May/June might include:

Audience Shot

Consider your own personal safety

Arrange a meeting point and agree a time in case you get separated from your friends. Drink too much and you’re likely to feel disorientated.  You can’t always rely on mobile phones, so it’s a good idea to make sure you don’t run your battery down completely. Some larger festivals may have recharging points.

  • Stick with friends and if you are camping, don’t go back to your tent alone
  • Enjoy the Festival/Event, but look after yourself and your friends
  • Keep hydrated and wear suitable clothing, taking into consideration the weather forecast.

Moderate your alcohol consumption

The best way to avoid problems from alcohol is to stay within the recommended limits. So keep a count of what you are drinking. Recognise when you’re drinking too quickly. Sometimes you might just be thirsty rather than really wanting an alcoholic drink. Don’t ruin your enjoyment of the festival by overdoing it and if the festival goes on for more than one day, give your body a break from the booze on at least one of the days and avoid morning drinking altogether.

Under the influence of alcohol you are more likely to find yourself in a vulnerable situation

Look After Your Valuables

Concerts and Festivals are not hotbeds of crime, but thefts do happen. They are more likely to occur if you have had lots of alcohol and you may not be aware of what’s going on around you.

Camping 1

If you are planning on camping at any of these or future events, check out ROSPA’s safety advice.

Try not to bring valuables like mp3 players or jewellery with you.

  • Don’t carry your wallet or phone in your back pocket
  • Do not leave valuables in your tent
  • If you do leave things of value in your car put them out of sight in the boot and make sure you lock your vehicle

Report any suspicious persons to a member of security at the event or to the Camp site Assistance Team. There are usually a number of Festival and Town Pastors also in attendance at many of the larger events.  These are people who will help anyone who needs assistance.

Please take some time to consider your personal safety and remain vigilant so you don’t become a victim of theft or any other crime.

Most Importantly
Have a wonderful time and Stay Safe

Staying Safe by Open Water

Colleagues in Suffolk Fire and Rescue have teamed up with Anglian Water to reinforce messages about staying safe around water this Water Safety Week. You can follow Suffolk Fire and Rescue on Twitter and Facebook for all their latest messages.

Be Water Aware

Cooling off in rivers, canals, ponds, quarries and lakes looks fun, but it can have deadly consequences. Every year emergency services are called to incidents where residents (particularly children and young people) get into difficulty when swimming in open water.

We would encourage everyone to share information about the dangers of cooling off in open water and to take heed of all water safety notices which warn of the dangers.

 

 

Swimming in reservoirs is dangerous. Swimming in Open Water

Anglian Water has lots more advice about staying safe when visiting their water parks. These are operational sites and even the strongest swimmers can get into serious difficulties.

Dangers of cooling off in open water

The water may look calm on the surface, but there may still be strong undercurrents that could pull even a strong swimmer under. The water may also feel relatively warm on the surface, but just a few feet below can be icy cold even in the hot weather and can very quickly cause severe cramp and hypothermia.

Young people often misjudge their swimming ability – they may view a river or lake as a tempting means of cooling off during a hot spell of weather, but fail to appreciate the harmful effects that the cold water can have on their stamina and strength.

Due to these dangers, we are urging people, particularly children and teenagers, not to swim anywhere other than in purpose-built and supervised swimming pools.

What to do if you see someone in difficulties

Around water - How to help

  • Get help: ring 999 or get someone else to do it. Alternatively if you are on your own without a mobile phone, call for help if you can see people nearby, or go and get help.
  • Think: of your own safety first. Don’t put yourself in danger by going into the water to rescue someone – you may get in difficulties in the water too.
  • Look: for any safety equipment close at hand such as lifebuoys or throwing lines.
  • Reach: a stick, scarf or clothes tied together can help you reach the person. Crouch or lie down to avoid being pulled into the water yourself.
  • Throw: a rope is best because you can then pull the person in. If you don’t have any rope, throwing something in that will float such as a football or even an empty plastic bottle will help in keeping the person afloat until help arrives.
  • Keep warm: once rescued, keep the casualty warm and ensure they get medical help as soon as possible.

Tombstoning – Why is it dangerous?

Tombstoning offers a high-risk, high-impact experience but it can have severe and life-threatening consequences. This is because:

  • Water depths alter with the tide – the water may be shallower than it seems
  • Submerged objects like rocks may not be visible – these can cause serious impact injuries
  • The shock of cold water can make it difficult to swim
  • Getting out of the water is often more difficult than people realise
  • Strong currents can rapidly sweep people away

Tombstoning Check out ROSPA’s advice.

Key safety tips for staying safe near water

  • Alcohol and swimming do not mix – stay out of the water if you have been drinking.
  • Always watch your child while at the beach, lake or other natural bodies of water.
  • Never let older children swim in unsupervised areas like quarries, canals or ponds.
  • Do not swim near motor boats, jet skis or other power vehicles.
  • Never interfere with lifesaving equipment – you might need it yourself.
  • Learn to spot and keep away from dangerous water.
  • Take safety advice – heed notices which warn you of the danger.
  • Children should always visit open water sites with a grown-up.
  • Swimming anywhere other than at purpose built and supervised swimming pools is highly dangerous and is not recommended.

ROSPA Logo

More advice and information about water safety including garden ponds, ice safety, bath seats and child drowning can be found on the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (ROSPA) website.

Royal Lifesaving Society logo

Further advice is also available from the Royal Lifesaving Society

Staying Safe at Outside Events – March/April 2016

Watching your favourite singer or band from the comfort of your armchair is great, but there’s nothing like being there live on the day. Tickets to big entertainment and sporting events sell out very quickly, which is very disappointing when you’ve really been looking forward to the big day.

This can make it very tempting to buy them from sources other than official websites. If your ticket is found not to be genuine you will be refused entry.  Here is some advice from Get Safe Online.

There are a number of great music events and festivals taking place in and around Suffolk in 2016. Some of the events in March/April include:

Audience Shot

In partnership with Suffolk Police we have produced the ‘staying safe’ messages below. The issues raised are relevant for all outside events.

Consider your own personal safety

Arrange a meeting point and agree a time in case you get separated from your friends. Drink too much and you’re likely to feel disorientated.  You can’t always rely on mobile phones, so it’s a good idea to make sure you don’t run your battery down completely. Some larger festivals may have recharging points.

  • Stick with friends and if you are camping, don’t go back to your tent alone
  • Enjoy the Festival/Event, but look after yourself and your friends
  • Keep hydrated and wear suitable clothing, taking into consideration the weather forecast.

Moderate your alcohol consumption

The best way to avoid problems from alcohol is to stay within the recommended limits. So keep a count of what you are drinking. Recognise when you’re drinking too quickly. Sometimes you might just be thirsty rather than really wanting an alcoholic drink. Don’t ruin your enjoyment of the festival by overdoing it and if the festival goes on for more than one day, give your body a break from the booze on at least one of the days and avoid morning drinking altogether.

  • Think When You Drink: alcohol affects everyone in very different ways.
    “Think Again before you drink another drop”
  • Think Fights: alcohol can make people more aggressive
  • Know Your Alcohol Limit: and stick to it. Importantly, don’t drink and drive, even the morning after as you may still be over the limit.
  • Spiking:  never leave your drinks unattended, even soft drinks get spiked
  • Time to Stop: If you have sex without the other person’s consent you could end up going to prison for rape. Just like with alcohol, you need to know when to stop! Saying no means the same in every language

Under the influence of alcohol you are more likely to find yourself in a vulnerable situation

Look After Your Valuables

Concerts and Festivals are not hotbeds of crime, but thefts do happen. They are more likely to occur if you have had lots of alcohol and you may not be aware of what’s going on around you.

Camping 1

If you are planning on camping at any of these or future events, check out ROSPA’s safety advice.

Try not to bring valuables like mp3 players or jewellery with you.

  • Don’t carry your wallet or phone in your back pocket
  • Do not leave valuables in your tent
  • If you do leave things of value in your car put them out of sight in the boot and make sure you lock your vehicle

Report any suspicious persons to a member of security at the event or to the Camp site Assistance Team. There are usually a number of Festival and Town Pastors also in attendance at many of the larger events.  These are people who will help anyone who needs assistance.

Please take some time to consider your personal safety and remain vigilant so you don’t become a victim of theft or any other crime.

Most Importantly
Have a wonderful time and Stay Safe

Staying Safe on a night out

We want people to enjoy themselves on a night out or at a party with their friends. However in partnership with Suffolk Police we have produced a number of ‘Staying Safe’ messages. A summary of the main points are below.

Consider your own personal safety

Arrange a meeting point and agree a time in case you get separated from your friends. Drink too much and you are likely to feel disorientated and you cannot always rely on mobile phones, so it’s a good idea to make sure your battery is fully charged before going out.

Look After Your Valuables

Unfortunately thefts do happen so:

  • Don’t leave things of value visible inside in your car, put them out of sight in the boot
  • Make sure you lock your vehicle
  • Don’t leave handbags/shopping bags unattended
  • Don’t carry your wallet or phone in your back pocket

Moderate your alcohol consumptionCheers

The best way to avoid problems from alcohol is to stay within the recommended limits. So be mindful of what and how much you are drinking. Don’t ruin your enjoyment by overdoing it.

This is not a crime Rape is

Under the influence of alcohol you are more likely to find yourself in a vulnerable situation. Plan your journey home.

Whos Taking You Home

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