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Police feeling the ‘ill-effects’ of psychoactive substances on the street

The use of psychoactive substances by young people in Bridgend is causing concern amongst police and the council in the town.

Officers have noted a number of incidents where psychoactive substances play a part.

Those under the influence are losing their inhibitions and are more likely to commit crime and anti social behaviour but what is more concerning is the number of people who are being taken to hospital in need of medical assistance after falling victim to the drug’s often dangerous effects.

On Saturday (24 October) police were called to Market Street in Bridgend’s town centre after concerns were raised for two young males who were found incoherent and aggressive in the street. Both had taken psychoactive substances and needed urgent medical help.

Inspector Richard Weber, said: “Unfortunately, emergency service workers are having to deal with the consequences of these substances on quite a regular basis.

“Typically, emergency calls involve young individuals who are in need of medical assistance or who are committing crime or anti-social behaviour while under the influence of these substances. My primary concern is for their safety, as they appear to believe that these drugs come without risks, or repercussions, and of course that couldn’t be further from the truth.

“Tackling the use and sale of psychoactive substances is a priority for the Bridgend Community Safety Partnership. Police will be working with key partners, such as Trading Standards, to prevent the sale of psychoactive substances over the counter, but the public play a vital role too.”

Earlier this year, A Trading Standards Investigation, which was supported by South Wales Police, resulting in Atif Iqbal, the owner of the Izzit shop in Nolton Street, being fined £3,960 for six offences under the General Product Safety Regulations. He was also ordered to pay £4,000 in costs.

Inspector Weber added: “My message is for people to start waking up to the real threat these substances pose to individuals. Our younger generations are ill-informed and have serious misconceptions about them. Misconceptions stem from the fact these substances are often referred to as ‘legal highs’; they deduce that if it’s legal, it’s safe. It is up to parents, peers, teachers, youth workers and anybody else in a position of authority, who can reach out to these young people, to understand the risks, spot the signs of abuse, and make appropriate interventions.”

Bridgend County Borough Council Leader Mel Nott OBE said: “The use of new psychoactive substances is increasingly becoming a matter of huge concern within communities throughout the UK.

“The council and police are taking the matter extremely seriously and worked together earlier in the year to successfully bring a prosecution against a local supplier.

“Psychoactive substances generally take the form of pills, powder or herbal materials, but they are all potentially dangerous as it is not possible to predict their side effects or long term health risks.

“The simple truth of the matter is you can’t be sure what you are taking, and could end up gambling with your health or even your life.”

Anybody who has information or concerns about the use or sale of psychoactive substances should contact 101 immediately, or they can contact Trading Standards on 01656 642 643.

For information, help or support with personal drug abuse issues or that of somebody else, the public can contact local support charity Ogwr Dash on 01656 650686 or they can ‘talk to Frank’ on 0800 77 66 00. There is also the dan24/7 helpline – 0808 808 2234.

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