Your location is set to Dartford
Published: 09:10, 15 July 2014 |
Updated: 10:23, 15 July 2014
A charity claims Britain is underestimating the scale of the problem of so-called "legal highs" as a crackdown continues in Kent.
CRI - which helps support and treat drug addicts - says it has seen a big increase in the number of people using the substances.
It follows a series of raids in Kent last week - thought to be the first of their kind in the country - to remove legal highs from our high streets.
Nearly 1,900 packets were found in 20 stores, which have been stopped from selling them by trading standards teams until the substances are tested.
CRI predicted the legal high situation "will only get worse" amid fears Britain is "only scratching the surface" and underestimating the "serious public health challenge" posed "legal high" misuse.
Chief executive David Biddle said: "We believe that the common term of 'legal high' is incredibly misleading; legal does not equate to safe, and some substances which were legal have now been classified.
"Some of these substances are highly potent and can be very risky, possibly up to 10,000 times stronger than the street drugs they emulate, with tiny amounts able to trigger extreme psychoactive responses.
"It is clear that there is still work to be done to research, treat, understand and describe these substances in a way that fully appreciates their scale and effects.
"It is very important that good quality, easily accessible information is made available to inform and educate."
Nearly 1,900 "legal highs" were discovered in shops allegedly selling the substances in Kent last week.
Officers from Kent County Council's trading standards and police targeted 20 shops as part of their efforts to crack down on the items.
The visits resulted in 424 sample packets of the controversial substances being taken away for testing.
Depending on the results, the authorities will be issuing appropriate action, which is still yet to be decided.
The action followed a letter sent recently by the consumer protection department to all stores suspected of selling the legal drugs, with the potential to kill.
Stories you might have missed
Every morning at 10am we play you an hour of tunes from the 90s. We call it, #WeLoveThe90s.
Play 'Say It' with Garry and Laura on kmfm Breakfast and you could win £1,000!
Wake up to kmfm Breakfast with Garry and Laura - it's Kent's alarm call.
A guide for your future. For year 11 students in Kent and Medway. Click here for the e-edition.
Education, Training & Childcare is a special supplement published by KM Media Group four times a year. Click here for latest e-edition.
This is a brand new online resource covering every aspect of owning and improving a home in Kent and Medway.
Get the latest food and drink news, recipes from some of the nation's top chefs plus updates from Kent's vineyards and breweries.
Search in your local area to find your perfect partner in Kent, with FreshStart Dating! PLUS, register for free!.
Neil Miller, Hever Castle head gardener is new gardening blogger.
Buy pictures that you've seen in a KM newspaper, or send in a picture and we will place it on our photo sales website so that you can purchase a super, unique gift.