Police have issued an urgent warning of the dangers of a legal high following several incidents in Swindon this week.
There have been three incidents involving individuals believed to have taken legal highs and, as a consequence, have acted in an erratic and dangerous way.
The substance that all three men are believed to have taken is nicknamed ‘Crystal’, which has been likened to Crystal Meth as it caused hallucinations and euphoria but it also causes users to re-medicate constantly.
This can cause users to stay awake for 5 or 6 days and can lead to severe psychosis and paranoia.
A spokesman for Wiltshire Police said: “The subject of legal highs is a topical and emotive one and Wiltshire Police are committed to working with partners agencies from Swindon Borough Council, GWH and Drug Treatment services to educate and inform people about the dangers associated with these substances.
“As with controlled substances these are unlicensed, unregulated and potentially dangerous.
“The line between Legal and Illegal is blurred with regard to these substances, but Wiltshire Police will and have taken action with regard to situations which indicate that the substances being supplied and used are in fact already controlled under the Misuse of Drugs Act.
“Investigative work by police, Swindon Borough Council, GWH and drug services led to sufficient evidence being put forward to the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs last year, along with corroborative evidence from other force areas, to successfully ban the substance Methoxetamine, which was previously uncontrolled.
“We would urge anyone who has information on the supply of drugs to come forward immediately, information will be treated confidentially.”
The Police and Crime Commissioner for Wiltshire and Swindon, Angus Macpherson, said: “I am very concerned about the recent incidents involving so-called legal highs.
“There seems to be a misguided belief that, because a substance is called ‘legal’, it must be safe.
“I know from the users I have talked to that these substances simply are not safe.
"We must get across the message that taking an untested substance, even though it is not presently a banned one, could cause you long-term damage or even death.
“Good partnership working involving Wiltshire Police and other agencies has already contributed to one substance being banned.
“I think we need to build on that success with some pro-active policing, perhaps involving our colleagues in Trading Standards.
"I would like the shops where these substances are on sale to be visited and samples removed for examination.
“In my role as PCC I sit on the Health and Wellbeing Boards in Swindon and Wiltshire. I intend to raise this issue and to discuss what more we can do to protect people from these harmful substances.
“I attended a conference in London yesterday where the crime prevention minister made clear that the Government is greatly concerned about these substances.”
Anyone with information is asked to contact Wiltshire Police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 where information can be left anonymously.