‘Do you know what you’re getting?’

Sweets for clubbersManchester health chiefs to give clubbers packs of sweets to highlight danger of ‘legal highs’

Alice McKeegan January 18, 2013

The ‘Do you know what you’re getting?’ campaign includes giving out postcards, leaflets and specially-produced packets of dolly mixture sweets to pubs, bars and clubs across the city.

Manchester Mental Health and Social Care Trust says it is targeting people who are more likely to use legal highs, including students, teenagers and the gay community.

They say the drugs, which can be bought online or even on the high street, are becoming increasingly popular because they are so cheap.

They can be bought for as little as £6 but are potentially lethal, containing dangerous chemicals similar to those used in class A drugs like ecstasy.

Colin Tyrie, the manager of the drug harm reduction team, says young people are putting themselves at risk by taking the substances on nights out or at festivals, and his team is hearing of more cases of this type of drug abuse.

Colin said: “These sorts of drugs are becoming increasingly popular because they are easy to get hold of and relatively cheap.

“The fact that legal highs are available either online or in specialist shops makes them misleadingly appealing because it feels safer than buying illegal drugs on the street.

“This also makes them appear safer to use – but the problem is that we don’t know as much about them as we do illegal drugs, making it difficult to offer advice to users.”

The drugs are often made in laboratories in China and eastern Europe and imported to the UK. They contain legal substances used for medical research or veterinary practice – and as long as they are labelled ‘not for human consumption’ can be traded legally.

But they can have serious side-effects, such as anxiety, panic attacks, nausea and skin rashes. In extreme cases, the drugs can lead to death.

Colin added: “You often only need a very small amount of the drugs to have a very potent effect – and just because they are legal doesn’t mean they are safe.”

Credit: Health Correspondent Alice Mckeegan Manchester Evening News Friday 18 TH January, 2013

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