National Academy vows to crack down on drugs after pupils smoked ‘legal high’

The National Academy, Hucknall.
The National Academy, Hucknall.
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A mystery ‘substance’ smoked by several pupils at a Hucknall school which made them ill, prompting emergency services to be called, has been identified by police as a ‘legal high’.

Two pupils from the National Academy were taken to hospital and released the same day and all those involved are now fully recovered.

Since then, officers and school leaders have been working together to investigate the incident.

“We have been working to identify the substance and we now believe it to be a herbal-based legal high,” said Sgt Simon Scales from Hucknall police.

“This is particularly worrying. Using legal highs as recreational drugs carries a number of risks. Users cannot be clear what ingredients are in them and they can cause unpredictable reactions as seen last week at The National Academy.

“Studies suggest a large majority of legal highs contain Class B and C controlled drugs, which means they are not in fact ‘legal’, and can be harmful.

“Sellers of legal highs do not care for the consequences, they simply see it as a way to make easy money.

“We know that other substances such as caffeine, that is sold in various forms as a legal substance, can cause serious side effects, and even death if misused.”

The school and police have moved this week to reassure parents that they are treating the incident seriously and have issued warnings about drug abuse and punished those concerned.

“We are continuing to educate young people to make them aware of the risks associated with drugs and legal highs,” added Sgt Scales. “But the safest way to deal with legal highs is to avoid them.”

The incident happened at 2.10pm on Thursday 7th March when police and ambulances were called to the Annesley Road school following reports of a number of pupils feeling sick and dizzy.

National principal Dr John Edwards, said all those pupils involved were being ‘punished appropriately’ and their parents are ‘fully supportive’.

“It does not matter whether this substance is legal or not; it won’t be allowed in this school,” said Dr Edwards.

“Appropriate and serious action has also been taken with the pupil who brought the substance into school.

“The next step is for the governors to review the school’s decision about this individual, in accordance with legal requirements. They will do this during the next two weeks.”

“The school and police are now working to educate students further about the dangers of drugs in light of this incident.

“All of the pupils will be receiving support and advice from the police and also specialists who work for the local authority on the dangers of smoking, and drugs,” added Dr Edwards.

“I would like to commend those pupils who behaved sensibly and maturely on the day, by trying to discourage their friends from smoking, and helping staff with the situation. The school is now reviewing the longer term issues of supervision, education, and pupil awareness.”