Footage of lethal high users released as police make further arrests
13 Jun 2017 12:00 PM[View Full Size]
Northumbria Police have released a video showing the effects of lethal highs on users in Newcastle - as officers make four more arrests in a crackdown on the drugs.
The footage was taken in the last two weeks and is made up of two clips of people taking what is believed to be a new blend of Spice known as 'Power'.
There was a significant spike in use of the drug but police now say that the amount of reports of people being found unconscious in the street is beginning to fall.
That follows a significant period of proactive policing that has seen another four people charged for offences linked to lethal highs since the weekend.
It means that since the first reports of people falling ill on June 4 there have been 16 arrests, 10 people charged, two people summonsed to court and six people released pending further enquiries.
Superintendent Paul Knox says that the public should be reassured by the force's firm stance and hopes that by releasing the footage people can understand the dangers of the drugs.
He said: "This recent spike in incidents relating to lethal highs will have caused concern for members of the public but we have taken really positive action to take it off our streets.
"It is important to recognise that this is a nationwide problem and that the major cities across the countries are experiencing the same problems.
"We have been very proactive in sharing educational information about these substances and by taking enforcement action against those involved in the circulation of the drugs in our city.
"The recent spike in incidents is not as a result of an significant increase in the use of these drugs. We believe it is linked to a new blend of Spice that is being referred to as Power.
"Like Spice, this type of NPS is unpredictable and nobody knows what kind of effect it will have on their body. That is why it was re-classified as a Class B drug in December.
"The number of these incidents is beginning to fall and a big part of that is due to the proactive police work by our dedicated lethal high task force supported by our city centre neighbourhood policing team.
"We have also tried to point users in the direction of appropriate support services as many of them are vulnerable individuals who have been targeted by suppliers.
"There is still more work to do to take these drugs off the street and we would encourage people with information about the supply of NPS to contact police so we can put suppliers before the court."
The investigation into the use of NPS in Newcastle is being led by a dedicated task force set up by Northumbria Police in 2016 who have been working closely with Newcastle City Council, North East Ambulance Service and Public Health.
In the past 18 months their work has seen hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of NPS seized in a number of raids and, when the drugs were still legal, saw a number of shops that stocked the dangerous substances shut down.
The legislation introduced last year brought in jail sentences of up to seven years for those concerned in supply of the drugs and gave the police the power to seize and destroy NPS, as well as carry out searches of people, premises and vehicles.
The re-classification of NPS as a Class B drug in December also made it a criminal offence for an individual to possess lethal highs - something that many users still aren't fully aware of.
Investigations into the supply of lethal highs and other illegal substances across the force area are ongoing and anyone with any information on lethal highs, or the identity of those supplying them, should get in touch with police on 101.
Anyone who needs advice on drugs should contact FRANK on 08700 77 6600 or visit www.talktofrank.com.