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24 January 2013, 06:00
Two men have been treated in hospital after suffering convulsions caused by taking 'legal highs'.
The men in their 20s and 50s have recovered but police in Norwich are asking people to be aware of the dangers of the drugs.
They collapsed last year and test found both had taken legal substances which mimic the effects of controlled drugs.
Local Policing Inspector for Norwich North Inspector Gary Brotherhood, said: "People who take these so-called 'legal highs' are taking serious risks with their lives because often they do not know what they are taking and the drugs may contain harmful substances. We certainly don't want to see people gambling with their lives in this way."
Herbal synthetic cannabinoids contain chemicals that mimic the effects of the main active compound found in cannabis and will shortly be classified under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. Various brand names have been tested were found to contain this chemical.
Insp Brotherhood added: "Synthetic cannabinoids, like cannabis, may make you feel happy, relaxed, give you the giggles or hunger pangs, and either more talkative or drowsy.
"Alternatively, some people also experience paranoia, panic attacks or feel nauseous. Synthetic cannabinoids may be stronger than typical cannabis and have been reported to cause increased heart rate, convulsions, unconsciousness, and numbness."
Anne-Louise Schofield, Strategy Manager at Norfolk County Council's Drug and Alcohol Action Team, said: "Although various brand names containing herbal preparations are not illegal, it does not mean they are safe as you can never be 100% sure, no matter where you buy them from, that they are what they claim to be or how they will affect you.
"If you are concerned about a family member, friend, colleague or someone else close to you, advice and support is available.
"More information about drugs can be found at www.talktofrank.com or if you need to talk to someone about your concerns, you can call the Matthew Project free helpline on 0800 764 754 to speak to someone in confidence 24 hours a day".