Le­gal highs ru­in­ing my kids – mum

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Stanhope Fire -

A mother says she fears los­ing her chil­dren to a cock­tail of le­gal highs.

The teenagers, 14 and 15, have been tak­ing the sub­stances at least once a week since Au­gust.

Their 40- year- old mother Ed­wina and step-fa­ther Paul, 62, be­lieve their fam­ily is be­ing ripped apart as the pair of Ash­ford school pupils refuse to stop tak­ing them.

Ed­wina said: “It’s been dev­as­tat­ing for me… to ac­tu­ally watch my chil­dren find­ing th­ese things, tak­ing them and con­se­quently not only wor­ry­ing about the phys­i­cal ef­fect it’s hav­ing on their bod­ies but watch­ing them men­tally and emo­tion­ally change.

“Ev­ery time my chil­dren walk out the door I don’t know if they’re go­ing to come home alive. It’s been so aw­ful I just can’t ex­plain my emo­tions and feel­ings.

“I’m do­ing this in­ter­view

Le­gal highs are openly on sale in Kent. But at least one young­ster from the county has lost his life af­ter tak­ing the over-the-counter sub­stances and another young­ster suf­fered a heart at­tack.

in­ves­ti­gates at the start of our cam­paign

be­cause I ac­tu­ally want to say to other par­ents ‘don’t hide, come for­ward and tell every­body what is hap­pen­ing to our chil­dren’. If we all stand to­gether maybe we can change this.”

The mother-of-four be­lieves her chil­dren’s per­son­al­i­ties have changed since tak­ing what are known as New Psy­choac­tive Sub­stances (NPS).

She said: “They’re ag­gres­sive, they have out­bursts of anger, then the next minute they’re laugh­ing and jok­ing.

“They think it’s all funny and we’re all up­set be­cause we’ve just had to go through the trauma. Their emo­tions are way above and be­yond nor­mal teenage emo­tions.”

The teenagers get the sub­stances from a num­ber of sup­pli­ers in Ash­ford while go­ing to and from school.

They of­ten get their fixes from so-called head shops – stores that sell drug para­pher­na­lia among other things.

It’s some­thing step-fa­ther Paul is ex­tremely con­cerned about.

He said: “I’d like to see all the le­gal highs shops shut down.

“The po­lice haven’t got the pow­ers that they need. Trad­ing stan­dards are the only ones that can shut th­ese shops down.”

The sub­stances are cur­rently le­gal, mean­ing the au­thor­i­ties are lim­ited in what they can do.

Po­lice can­not pros­e­cute and trad­ing stan­dards do not have the power to seize the items.

Paul said: “They’ve come home and be­cause we’ve had talks be­fore about them tak­ing drugs, they’ve said you don’t have to worry any more be­cause we’re tak­ing some­thing that’s le­gal. They don’t re­alise what they’re tak­ing, they don’t


care what’s hap­pen­ing to them­selves.”

Ed­wina added: “Their ex­cuse is ‘well it’s fine, they’re le­gal, we can take them as no­body’s go­ing to do any­thing about it’.

“But I’m very con­cerned be­cause we don’t know what, even in this short six months, what has hap­pened to their brains. It could be ir­re­versible.”

The gov­ern­ment has launched a re­view into le­gal highs, a move the cou­ple feel needs to de­liver re­sults.

Ed­wina said: “I would like to make a plea to tvhe gov­ern­ment to please change their stance on drugs – not just le­gal highs but all drugs, be­cause they’re ac­ces­si­ble to chil­dren younger and younger and it’s just not ap­pro­pri­ate.

“They need to do some­thing.”

Ed­wina and Paul spoke about their fears over le­gal highs

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