As it has just been revealed that there has been a sharp increase in the use of legal highs, a senior paramedic has warned that ambulance crews have been left baffled with regards to how to treat casualties caused by these substances.
Due to the complex and ever-changing make-up of legal highs, staff are continuously trying to play ‘catch-up’ in the battle to develop effective treatments for those who have damaging or life-threatening side-effects. Furthermore, many of these products don’t even list the exact ingredients on their packaging so paramedics and doctors have absolutely no idea what they’re dealing with.
Ms Harrison, who is an advanced paramedic for the North West Ambulance Service commented:
“We have no drugs that counteract the effects of the substances that people are taking and that’s what’s causing a lot of the problems. A lot of the time we are not aware what substance they have taken or even what the substance is because they come with different names and different street names. We are having to just deal with the medical effects and treat the patient at the time.”
Some of the most common problems that ambulance crew report dealing with including people stopping breathing, becoming unconscious, paranoid and even dying.
As concerns surrounding legal highs increases, the government is planning to bring in new legislation which will make it an offence to produce, supply, import or export legal highs and this is likely to come into effect next year.
If you think that you or someone you know could have a problem with drugs, please feel free to visit our Drug Addiction Treatment and Rehabilitation page for more information about the signs, symptoms and treatments that are available.