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26 May 2016, 15:24
An ex-legal highs user in Nottingham has told Capital the ban on legal highs won't stop people taking the risk to buy and take them.
The new law banning all new psychoactive substances like black mamba, spice, vortex and laughing gas has come in today, meaning it is now illegal to sell, produce or import them.
Katrina, from Nottingham, used to take black mamba, she told Capital: "It won't have any affect at all, people who are hooked on it will do whatever they need to to get hold of it.
"It's just not good for you, you don't know what it's doing to you. I started off using it as a joke. But then would put more and more mamba in my spliffs. I even used to slice my face with a knife after taking some, and wouldn't know I'd done it until I woke up."
Figures show 922 people were treated by doctors either in hospital or in the community in Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire after taking substances like black mamba, spice, vortex or laughing gas.
In Derbyshire, the number has increased from 25 in 2013, to 458 in 2015, a rise of more than 1,700%.
Health bosses say the figures could be higher in more recent years because of a change in the way legal highs admissions have been recorded, however, David Hurn, who is a drugs specialist at Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Trust, has told us more people are using them. He said: "It is increasing as they are cheap and easy to get hold of. But we are also getting more interested in the numbers of cases, as there have been people who have had to be admitted because they've developed psychotic behaviour or have collapsed.
There are worries also that it will make more people criminals that wouldn't have been before.
Neil Brooks, who helps support people off drugs in Nottingham, says it's important that those who are possessing these substances aren't prosecuted for selling them, if they are not:
Police say they'll try and educate people around the
PC Matt Rowlett from Leicestershire Police works with the criminal drugs team in the city.
He says any users they come into contact with they'll try to educate to come off the substances: