The number of police incidents involving legal highs in England have been released to reveal the shocking rise in cases... The number of police incidents involving ‘legal highs’ have increased dramatically in many parts of England, new figures obtained by the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) reveal.
The number of incidents soared across 16 police forces that responded to a freedom of information request by the think-tank. In Greater Manchester, for example, the number increased 17-fold in two years, from six in 2012 – to 104 this year. In West Yorkshire there was a 25-fold increase over the same period – from 13 to 324 this year.
The CSJ has called for a robust response from the Government, including new police powers to close shops that persist in selling ‘legal highs’. This comes after recent CSJ analysis showed that the number of people in treatment for taking ‘legal highs’ soared by 216 per cent in England in the last five years.
The number of deaths associated with the use of ‘legal highs’ (or New Psychoactive Substances) increased from 12 in 2009 to 97 in 2012 in England.
“As well as posing worrying health risks, these figures suggest ‘legal highs’ are placing an increasing burden on public services,” said senior CSJ researcher Rupert Oldham-Reid.
“It is too easy for people to walk into high street shops and buy these drugs – many of them as dangerous as Class A substances. “If we want to start responding to the problems caused by ‘legal highs’ we need to clamp down on those making a living out of selling them.”
The CSJ said the UK has the highest number of ‘legal highs’ users amongst young people in Europe.
Download the full report here from the centre for social justice