Derbyshire revellers are being warned not to underestimate the dangers of legal highs as they welcome in 2014.
Police officers say they regularly have to deal with youngsters in Chesterfield who have taken the substances and suffer the ill effects.
Section Inspector for Chesterfield Borough Steven Ball said: “There is a problem with legal highs in Chesterfield. We have had a rise in the number of people who have suffered ill effects after taking them.
“Only this week we had two people in the town centre who were taken unwell during the day. It tied up some police officers and members of the ambulance service to treat them. It’s not an easy issue to deal with.”
The town’s Street Pastors, who operate a youth club in an effort to get youngsters off the streets, are also expressing concerns about the number of people taking legal highs.
Members of the group, which operates out of Grace Chapel, say they regularly see teenagers under the influence of legal highs and have witnessed first-hand the bad effects they can have on people.
John Bowne, a retired Police Superintendent who helps run the club, has seen people on the floor incapable of moving around but still conscious after consuming these substances.
“The most extreme case that we’ve seen was where we walked up to this group and it was obvious they were smoking,” he said.
“This one suddenly said ‘I feel faint’ and collapsed on the pavement. We had a retired nurse with us, she got down on her knees and took a pulse and the pulse rate was normal so she kept hold of that.
“Because we’d dealt with them before in a similar condition - but not quite so bad - we knew that within 10 or 15 minutes they’d come round and would be ok.”
According to Mr Bowne the most popular product used among young people is called Clockwork Orange.
It is described on the packaging as ‘herbal incense’ and promises a high that lasts around an hour when smoked with tobacco. On the packaging is fine print that says not to swallow or inhale and that it is a ‘research chemical.
To get the facts about legal highs and understand more about the dangers, visit www.doyouknowwhatsinit.org.uk