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Ambulance workers unsure how to treat legal high casualties

Posted in: Medical Negligence 

With a sudden rise in people using legal highs, a senior paramedic has announced that ambulance services are struggling to cope with the treatment of casualties. Sarah Harrison came forward earlier this week claiming that because of the complexity of the substances’ make-up, hospital staff are struggling to treat casualties. Medical staff are currently trying to “catch-up” in the battle to develop effective treatments – made more difficult by the fact that a BBC investigation recently discovered that many products don’t actually contain the precise ingredients listed on the packaging.

In the last two years alone, police incidents involving legal highs have more than doubled. 3,807 incidents caused by legal highs were recorded across 32 forces in England in 2014 – an increase from 1,431 the previous year.

“We have no drugs that counteract the effects of the substances”

Advanced paramedic for the North Wales Ambulance Service, Ms Harrison said that with this increase in legal high-related incidents, there has been a dramatic increase in people falling ill after taking the substances. She stated: “We have no drugs that counteract the effects of the substances that people are taking, and that’s what’s causing a lot of the problems.

A debate is currently underway with regards to the Psychoactive Substances Bill, which should come into force in spring 2016. Ms Harrison said that she worries that the use of legal highs will never be adequately controlled because of its complexities.

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