THE dangers of legal highs were highlighted as emergency services and charities gathered at a community event.
Young people performed their own music in Gosport High Street to warn people of the risks associated with legal highs.
And teenagers, working with young people’s charity Motiv8, interviewed members of the public about what their knowledge was about the substances, which have become available over the counter in shops in Gosport, Portsmouth and Havant.
The community safety day was attended by police officers, firefighters, the air ambulance crew, the bomb disposal team, staff from Motiv8 and Hampshire’s police and crime commissioner, Simon Hayes.
Sam Dryden, 14 and Steph Hilton, 16, both from Gosport, took part in the performance of the song, Breathe.
Sam said: ‘They shouldn’t be legal just because the chemicals have been changed slightly. They are just as dangerous as drugs. They are still very addictive.’
They are just as dangerous as drugs. They are still very addictiveSam Dryden
Carl Stanton, 26, a senior support worker for Motiv8, said: ‘The message is around awareness and education.
‘A lot of young people we work with are massively affected by legal highs that they are taking or friends are taking.
‘They are such a common thing in Gosport. For such a small town, it’s a massive problem.’
Mr Hayes, police and crime commissioner for Hampshire, said: ‘Parliament needs to legislate to make them illegal because they are mind-altering substances that we know kill people and young people in particular.’
Caroline Dinenage, MP for Gosport, said: ‘People presume that because you can buy them over the counter that they are going to be safe.
‘In Gosport we have had people who have died as a result of taking them. People need to be very aware of the potential health implications.’