Warning Over Illicit Vapes Potentially Laced with Drugs
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Parents have been warned about the dangers of unregulated vapes following reports of young people collapsing in school after using devices allegedly laced with drugs.
Cleveland Police have seized dozens of vapes which had been confiscated from students by a school in Middlesbrough in the last few weeks.
A number have been sent off for testing for dangerous Class B substances like Spice or THC, the active drug in cannabis.
It’s understood that some reusable vape pens are being filled with the drugs by dealers – with officers receiving information regarding students becoming unwell after using them.
Once filled, the devices are believed to be sold to young people using Snapchat and other social media apps.
Mark Adams, South Tees Joint Director of Public Health, said: “Any illicit vapes are very dangerous, and it’s important we get the message out to the public that unregulated vape pens can cause serious damage to the health of our young people.
“Licensed, regulated vapes containing nicotine are a useful tool to help adults quit smoking but they should not be used by anyone under 18.
“But young people thinking of buying these illicit, home-filled devices online have no idea what has gone into them, and the potential danger they could cause.
“THC and Spice are harmful, psychoactive substances that can cause serious health problems and parents need to be vigilant to ensure they do not find their way into the hands of Middlesbrough’s young people.”
Middlesbrough Mayor Chris Cooke, the Executive Member for Adult Social Care and Public Health, said: “Ensuring parents and carers get the message loud and clear that these vapes are incredibly dangerous is vital, to help them keep our young people safe.
“I would urge anyone who has information about these vapes to contact police.”
Sergeant Daniel Oldroyd, from Cleveland Police’s Middlesbrough Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: “A number of vapes confiscated by local schools have been seized by Cleveland Police officers and some have tested positive for illegal drugs.
“The legal age to use and purchase vapes is 18, however, we know that they are being sold to young people via social media, and these are then being taken into schools.
“Not only is this a health issue, but those possessing and supplying illegal drugs could be committing criminal offences. We are working closely with local schools and partners to share information and intelligence.
“We would also urge parents, guardians and anyone with information they may have about those supplying these vapes to call Cleveland Police on 101.”
A letter from the South Tees Public Health team will be circulated to parents at Middlesbrough schools this week.
It explains how THC is the main psychoactive compound in cannabis, while Spice is a collection of synthetic Class B drugs which are cheaper to produce and mimic the effects of drugs like cannabis.
Inhaling Spice through a vaping pen is extremely dangerous for young people and can lead to health problems such as breathing difficulties, chest pains, heart palpitations, seizures, extreme anxiety, paranoia, suicidal thoughts, psychosis, vomiting or diarrhoea and acute kidney injury.
In some cases, a single dose can kill.
Anyone with information about the supply or use of these illegal vapes should contact Cleveland Police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously online at www.crimestoppers-uk.org or by calling 0800 555 111.
Pictured (L-R): Middlesbrough Mayor Chris Cooke and Sergeant Daniel Oldroyd from Middlesbrough Neighbourhood Policing Team