‘Legal highs put strain on ambulance service’

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LEGAL highs are putting a strain on the ambulance service, a senior medic has said.

It comes as police and crime commissioner Simon Hayes and the Youth Commission are holding an awareness week about the potentially lethal drugs.

Mark Ainsworth-Smith is a consultant pre-hospital care practitioner at South Central Ambulance Service.

He said: ‘Many people believe legal highs are safe but what we are seeing on the streets is an increasing number of cases that suggest otherwise.

‘We are seeing cases where patients become ill after consuming just three puffs of a legal high and other instances where people become seriously unwell when mixing various legal highs, especially when they do so with alcohol.’

He added in one case it took 30 minutes to persuade someone who had taken spice to get in an ambulance to go to hospital for treatment.

SCAS said it more and more crews are reporting medical emergencies with legal highs involved in them.

Patients who have taken legal highs are also being aggressive to ambulance crews and to members of the public trying to help.