ALMOST 200 people have been arrested on suspicion of possession ‘legal’ highs so far this year.
West Yorkshire Police say they have seen an increase in the numbers of people being arrested for possessing Methedrone and Ketamine.
In 2010, 123 people were arrested for possessing Methedrone, known as MCAT, which increased to 173 in 2011. So far in 2012 there have been 183 arrests made.
Arrests for possession of Ketamine have increased from 33 in 2010 to 41 last year. So far this year, 19 people have been arrested for carrying the drug.
Police issue cautions for first time offences – some would have faced court action.
Police and health services are joining forces to urge people to consider the effects so called ‘legal highs’ on health.
West Yorkshire Police Drugs Co-ordinator Bryan Dent (pictured) said some of the so-call legal highs are now illegal and are classed as a Class B drug.
“We know that youngsters are opting to take new psychoactive substances over other drugs such as heroin and crack cocaine,” he said. “But they have no idea of the dangers they pose to them especially when consumed with alcohol.
“As these substances have only been around for the last few years research is still being done to look at the short term as well as the long term effects it can have on the health of users.
“Young people are playing Russian roulette with their lives and it has an impact on public services, including the police often initially attending the incident of a young person acting in a strange manner, or aggressively, or where they have just collapsed.
“It impacts on the ambulance service, which then often impacts on the A & E department and thereafter on drug treatment agencies, not to mention, schools, work and, of course, the person’s family.”
This week a report from the National Programme on Substance Abuse Deaths identified that of the 1,833 deaths in the UK during 2010, 29 of these were from MCAT.
The use of Ketamine is of particular concern due to an increase of people presenting themselves for treatment for Ketamine Bladder Syndrome.
Ketamine damages the cells lining the bladder, which leads to reduction in bladder capacity, and leads to kidney damages.