Perth’s police chief has stated that so-called ‘legal highs’ are still a prevalent problem in the area and has warned users to be aware of “backroom chemists.”
Chief Inspector Ian Scott said known drug addicts were the most susceptible to taking the psychoactive substances in Perth and Kinross.
The problem was highlighted this week when it was revealed three prison officers at HMP Addiewell in West Lothian recently inhaled second-hand fumes from the legal high drug known as Spice. This occurred after they entered a prison cell where inmates were smoking the substance, which is often referred to as the ‘zombie’ drug.
Mr Scott highlighted the fact there are now no shops in Perth selling ‘legal highs’ but stressed the matter is still a problem in the area.
“That has lessened the availability locally but people are accessing legal highs on the likes of the internet,” he said.
“There is the danger that people don’t know what they’re taking. This is not something you get from well-known drug companies – its backroom chemists who are making them and it’s a danger to health.
“Legal highs are a real danger and there are different groups that use them. These are people who have long-term drug dependency problems and many of these folk are young.”
He continued: “The introduction of legislation on legal highs is a good thing but we would encourage those taking them to contact the many agencies, including drug and alcohol dependency groups and NHS Tayside.
“These organisations are there to help people who take legal highs try to lead healthy lives.”
Mr Scott stated the increase in the number of drug deaths in Tayside over recent years should be a warning to those who dabble in unknown substances.
“There are some people who have decades of drug addiction and they’ve aged and their organs fail,” he added.
“It’s often caused by a combination of things. Unfortunately every city has a drugs problem and it’s important that NHS Tayside and drug dependency bodies get their preventative message out there.
“But we have to be realistic and face the fact that some young people tend to experiment and those with mental health and addiction issues carry on regardless.”