Synthetic highs lead to surge in 999 calls in Notts

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Ambulance workers are dealing with a surge in the number of calls relating to synthetic highs, which often reduce users to a zombie-like state.

Following a busy weekend in which East Midlands Ambulance Service was called to ten incidents, treating 22 people in Nottingham alone, the service has now started to monitor the situation, with another call-out relating to a synthetic high taking place in three days in Nottinghamshire.

One case reported nine individuals across several doorways in Nottingham city centre who were reported as having breathing difficulties and the inability to speak.

Due to the seriousness of the symptoms several ambulance crews were dispatched to the incidents, however crews found it difficult to engage with the patients in their ‘zombied’ state.

In many cases the patients declined assistance, refused to give their details and didn’t want to be treated or go to hospital.

Furthermore, while attempting to care for these patients some crews were assaulted both physically and verbally.

Wendy Hazard, ambulance operations manager for Nottinghamshire said: “We’ve had previous cases reported of patients using synthetic drugs, however, this weekend crews were reporting case after case.

“These drugs are dangerous and often contain harmful chemicals which can put lives at risk.

“When high on synthetics, symptoms can include unconsciousness and slurred speech, all of which mimic someone who is in a life-threatening condition.

“Users are risking their own lives due to the harmful chemicals but are also at risk of endangering the lives of others by taking a crew away from someone who really needs them.”

EMAS pointed out that it is not always clear whether a call-out relates to a synthetic high or not, so the actual number of patients they have dealt with after taking substances could actually be much higher.

The ambulance service is now urging the public to think carefully about the dangers of taking such highs.

Anyone who has information regarding the illegal supply of psychoactive substances is asked to call 101.

Alternatively, they can call Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.

For further information and advice on synthetic highs, visit the Frank website www.talktofrank.com/drug/synthetic-cannabinoids