Teens risking their lives for 'legal high'
YOUNG people in Bodmin are putting their lives at risk by snorting bath salts containing a powerful amphetamine substitute.
B2 is a so-called legal high but is said to be stronger than cocaine.
The use of the bath salts to get high is rife in the town and some young people from Bodmin have ended up in hospital suffering psychiatric problems after taking it.
Snorting B2 and other bath salts as a stimulant has caused alarm in America and there were at least two deaths in the UK last year linked to its use, yet it is easily available to buy on the internet.
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Legal highs are designed to mimic Class A drugs but are structurally different enough to avoid being classed as illegal under the Misuse of Drugs Act.
Inspector Ian Drummond-Smith, who is in charge of policing in Bodmin, said this week that if anyone died from taking the stimulant, the supplier could end up on a manslaughter charge.
The Cornish Guardian spoke to half a dozen young people from the town all of whom knew friends who were snorting the B2 bath salts product.
One said: " It's everywhere in Bodmin.
"I know a few people who take it and it does their head in – it's really strong, much stronger than cocaine – they get in a real mess."
A 17-year-old girl said she knew of someone who had to be taken to hospital after snorting bath salts.
"I know at least five people who take this stuff.
"It's widespread in Bodmin and they can get in a terrible state."
A parent from Bodmin said his 20-year-old son currently is undergoing treatment after suffering acute psychosis after snorting B2, which is said to cost around £30 per gram.
"I was very worried when I saw two of his friends out of their heads one night but then I discovered my son was snorting this stuff too. It's a big problem in Bodmin and extremely worrying," he said.
Debbie Garcia, who runs Debbie's Den, a gift, health and relaxation shop in the Market Arcade, said she had received a number of requests to stock the product, but had refused.
"People have come in asking for B2 or for me to order it for them on the internet, but I won't do it. They are bath salts which clearly say they are not for human consumption," she said.
Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust's Early Intervention Team works with people aged 14 to 35 who are experiencing their first episode of psychosis.
Angela Hawke, Early Intervention Team leader for the East of the county, said:
"We've received a couple of referrals for teenagers who have taken B2 or bath salts. People need to be aware that this substance could seriously damage their physical and mental health. Just because it is legal to possess, doesn't mean it is safe and these substances carry the same health risks as cocaine, ecstasy and speed and can lead to drug-induced psychosis.
Inspector Ian Drummond-Smith said: "Anyone who buys so-called legal highs is taking a huge risk and I urge everyone to avoid them. I am warning companies that if anyone dies as a result of their products we will investigate for manslaughter."
Concerned parents can contact the Early Intervention Team on 01208 251372.