Warning is issued about the dangers of herbal blends

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A Larne charity has issued a fresh warning about so-called ‘legal highs’, which it claims can be as dangerous as some banned substances.

Preventing Addiction Larne (PAL), a group formed after the death of a young local man who had used the legal high mephedrone, has spoken out about another type of product known as herbal smoking blends.

The warning comes after a Larne man contacted the Times to tell of his experiences with herbal blends such as ‘magic dragon’ and ‘doob’, which he said he purchased in the town.

He claimed he is now addicted to the substances, but added that he is trying to stop using them and wants to help younger people understand how dangerous they are.

Herbal smoking blends, also known as herbal incense, are similar to herbal cannabis, but can be sold and used legally.

However, Beverly White of PAL has warned that the substances can be as dangerous, if not more so, than many banned drugs.

She added: “Some of the side effects I have heard of from people who are taking this stuff locally include severe paranoia, insomnia, and an unbelievable comedown.

“This stuff is cheap, readily available and easy to access, both online and in Larne itself.”

Despite warnings on the packaging that the substances are ‘not for human consumption’, Beverly said the incense is bought and smoked by many people in the town.

She added: “We have all heard the horror stories of what can happen when people use legal highs, yet many still think it will never happen to them.

“Because the substances can be sold legally, police have their hands tied when it comes to tackling the problem.

“All we can do is continue to raise awareness of the dangers associated with taking these and other legal highs.”