A BRADFORD woman, whose 16-year-old son and his two young friends almost died after sniffing a tiny amount of a so-called legal high, today welcomed a new law which prevents the supply of psychoactive substances.

The professional woman, who wants only to be identified as Lesley, said her son had made a split second decision which could have cost him his life.

And she said she supported the law change which would make it illegal to sell "poison" to young people.

The mother, who works in public services, said: "I welcome with open arms the new law. If it prevents any other parents going through what we went through, it will be worth it."

The Psychoactive Substances Act, which comes into force today, makes it illegal to produce, supply, offer to supply, possess with intent to supply, import or export psychoactive substances.

The mother told how she and her husband had gone out for a couple of hours to visit family on New Year's Eve 2014, leaving their 16-year-old son at home with two friends.

She said: "They were playing computer games and were going to order a pizza.

"We were about to set off home when I got a call from my son, saying one of the boys had had a panic attack and they had called an ambulance. I could tell he was distressed and I realised it was serious."

She alerted her neighbour who went round to their house but could not at first open the door.

"She managed to get inside and found my son collapsed behind the door. One of the boys was on a sofa and had been sick everywhere and the other didn't know what was going on."

Three ambulance crews attended and paramedics were working on one boy who was "completely unconscious and almost dead."

They were all taken to hospital, put on drips, and were detained for several hours, and all recovered.

But Lesley said: "We were very fortunate that three young people did not die."

She said that while paramedics were at the house, one of the boys said they had "taken something." It transpired that the boy had paid £10 for a legal high at a Bradford shop.

Lesley said: "My son and the other boy had never taken drugs. They had a sniff. One boy had an instant reaction while my son had a slightly delayed reaction. Our son was very lucky he had only sniffed a small amount. It was enough to render him unconscious but not enough to kill him.

"We are a normal, hardworking family and had worked hard to bring up our children the right way. My son knows the difference between right and wrong, he is a really sensible young man.  "We had known the boy who brought the drugs into our house since he was at nursery school. We would never have suspected he would do that. We were flabbergasted it could happen."

And Lesley declared: "That £10 piece of poison could have murdered three young people. It's outrageous that a poisonous drug could be sold so easily to a 16-year-old boy from a Bradford shop.


"The police have worked tirelessly to get the law changed, so I am thrilled that has now happened. I will continue to work with them to do whatever I can to help.

"We have got to educate children. It is a harsh lesson for young people to learn.

"My son made the wrong choice in a split second that could have changed everybody's lives. He knows and understands that and it will be a lesson forever.

"He is very anti-drugs and anti-smoking and gets very upset if other young people do anything like that.

"He completed his college work with distinction, the other boy got glowing A-level marks and is doing well at university and the boy who brought the drugs  into our house is working.

"But how fortunate we all are as parents that our children are still here."

Police set to visit shops today to make sure they are not selling legal highs

POLICE were today visiting shop premises in Bradford to ensure they do not fall foul of new laws which make the sale of so-called legal highs illegal.

Detective Chief Inspector Warren Stevenson, the new force drugs co-ordinator for West Yorkshire Police, said pyschoactive substances had a negative impact on whole communities across Bradford and West Yorkshire.

The new legislation targets those who sell the potentially lethal substances and provides police with greater powers to take action against those who produce or supply them.

He said the law change affected all retailers and police will be able to stop and search people, vehicles and premises, and seize and destroy pyschoactive substances.

He said: "We have tried to ensure that all retail outlets - shops, garages, market stalls and internet suppliers - are aware of their obligations under the new Act and that their organisations or businesses are not selling, or dealing in any other way, in pyschoactive substances, by conducting extensive visits at premises in the run up to the Bill."

He said premises will be revisited regularly to enforce the new legislation and officers will take appropriate enforcement action where necessary.

Det Chief Insp Stevenson said West Yorkshire Police had been running Operation Nightshot, a multi-agency campaign to raise awareness of the dangers of using the substances, since 2012.


Officers had used existing legislation in innovative ways to prosecute suppliers and protect consumers.

He added: "The change in legislation will assist police in dealing with this unregulated industry and will go some way to reducing the availability of these often dangerous substances to users."

He said psychoactive substances mimicked the effect of controlled drugs and were not safe to take.

Det Chief Insp Stevenson added: "They are rather unhelpfully referred to as 'legal highs,' which leads people to think that if they are legal they must also be safe. This couldn't be further from the truth, and sadly we have incidents where people have ended up seriously ill in hospital, and also some deaths following from people taking these substances.

"We are using a number of methods to educate both users and suppliers to avoid retailers falling foul of the new law and make West Yorkshire a safer place."

Legal highs have been 'most worrying' recent development in dugs rehab sector 

JON Royle, chief executive of the Bridge project in Bradford, which provides services for drug users, said the new Act would prevent the legal sale of the substances. 

He said: "So-called legal highs have been the most worrying development in our sector in the last decade and we’ve seen more and more serious incidents, lost lives and examples of addiction as time has gone on. 

"Many of these substances are more dangerous than their traditional illegal counterparts and they can have frightening and unpredictable effects.  "There is a risk that the market for these drugs will now be driven underground, but at least the police can legitimately target suppliers and this will have the overall effect of reducing their availability and usage. 

"I don’t accept the argument that it's safer for people to buy these drugs legally, it’s evident that the legal suppliers had no concern for the welfare of users and the most vulnerable people in our society found a ready and easily accessible supply on the high street and internet. 

"Bridge has a bespoke service, the Change Programme, that can help people using these drugs recover.

"Anyone who is concerned about their own or another person’s drug use should contact the Bridge Project on 01274 723863 for free and confidential help."