Jun 1 2012 by Sandy Kilpatrick, Dumfries Standard Friday
A SURVEY on legal highs has “set alarm bells ringing” for police officers.
More than half of people don’t know what “psychoactive drugs” including bath salts and plant food sold as stimulants are.
And two-thirds don’t know, or are not sure, about the effect these could have if they take them.
Police say the survey, carried out via their Facebook page, is a “huge worry” for the region.
Detective Constable Scott Jardine, drugs misuse officer, said: “These results immediately set alarm bells ringing for us.
“Almost 62 per cent of people don’t know how widespread these substances are. We need to get more information to the public and schools on the potential dangers of these substances.
“We will be liaising with the Alcohol and Drugs Partnership and getting information on to the Dumfries and Galloway schools Glow intranet service to assist teachers.
“People under 40 are the most likely to experiment with the drugs. But protecting people from legal highs is difficult because, once a substance is banned, manufacturers simply alter the chemical formula to exploit a loophole in the law. Most of the chemicals are created in the Far East. The manufacturers are unscrupulous, they don’t care what they bulk up the product with.
“Psychoactive drugs are untested and we have no idea how they’ll react with the body or what effect they’ll have on people’s mood.”
Mr Jardine added: “They just tweak the formula, repackage it and bring it out as something else.
“If you’ve got a chemistry background I don’t suppose it’s that hard to do.”
The police wish to thank everyone who took part in the survey. Mr Jardine added: “It’s a massive help for enforcement and also for treatment and health agencies.”