March 10 2014 Latest news:
Thursday, January 2, 2014
Staff at Suffolk New College have issued a stark warning today about the dangers of so-called legal highs after a student collapsed unconscious.
Their concerns have also been backed by the mother of a Suffolk man who took his own life after becoming hooked on a legal party drug.
The Ipswich-based college has stressed it does not believe it has a drug problem among students and has held awareness sessions to warn pupils of the dangers of taking these type of substances.
But staff are worried that youngsters and their parents are unaware of the threats posed by the products that are freely and legally available from some shops.
Kerry Hiskey, a student support team leader at the college, went to the aid of the student who was with friends when he collapsed near the bike sheds.
She said: “He was unconscious. I told my colleague to phone an ambulance.
“I asked if he had taken anything – his friends said it was a legal high. There were a group of them who had taken it.
“He had taken them before, but was completely unconscious. He was 18 and woke up laughing. I think they all think it was quite cool.
“He was taken to hospital to be checked but was later discharged. They hear the word legal and they think these substances are harmless.
“We are extremely concerned. We don’t want people to think there’s a huge drug problem at the college, but there’s a small element causing us some concern and our most vulnerable students are the most at risk.
“The college is a complete reflection of all walks of society and that’s reflected in the incident that happened.”
Marianne Flack, the college’s director of planning development, added: “I think there’s a lot of ignorance around what legal highs are.
“I imagine most parents don’t even know of them. They are relatively new and there are a lot of them. What we can do is to make sure people are aware of the dangers.”
Earlier this month the Home Office said a new review of legal highs could lead to sweeping changes to UK drug legislation
Legal highs - officially known as psychoactive substances - are synthetic drugs which can be bought online and sometimes in shops.
Deaths from legal highs in England and Wales almost doubled to 52 last year.
The government has said it was “determined to clamp down on the reckless trade”.