NORTH Shropshire’s leading police officer has hailed a drop in the use of the recreational drug GHB but has warned revellers not to be tempted as the Christmas party season approaches.
Inspector Rik Klair says that although usage and availability of GHB in the area has decreased over the past 18 months, it is still being supplied. Joint enforcement actions by the police, and education advice provided by health and council agencies have worked, but Insp Klair said: “GHB is still being supplied in the area and remains available, even though the problem has reduced in recent months.”
He urged people to think twice before using the drug. “GHB is an extremely dangerous substance, with sedative and anaesthetic effects. It is made from industrial chemicals, which can have lasting damaging effects on users and can prove fatal.
“There have been at least two deaths in the area linked to the use of GHB, as well as a number of life-threatening incidents with people being admitted to hospital in a critical condition. Some of the side effects are quite horrendous – unconsciousness, convulsions, seizures and vomiting.” Inspector Klair said drug addicts find it more difficult to break a GHB habit than heroin.
“People turn to GHB because it is relatively cheap, but most do not realise how dangerous and addictive it is. Anyone wishing to get help in breaking a drug habit should contact the community substance misuse team on 01743-258800.”
Steve Charmley, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member with responsibility for public protection, said: “We are determined to stop the damage this drug is causing, not only to users, but to local communities which have to suffer the anti-social behaviour of those under its influence. Our multi-agency team comprising of Shropshire Council, West Mercia Police, the director of public health, and the Drug and Alcohol Action Team (DAAT), are continuing their co-ordinated response in tackling GHB usage.” Contact West Mercia Police on 101 if you have information about GHB use or other illegal drug activity, or call the anonymous Crimestoppers charity line on 0800 555 111.