Hospital warning over 'legal high'

Six people were admitted to hospital in Cumbria last week after it was believed they had used the legal high drug Ivory Wave.

Many of those taken to West Cumberland Hospital in Whitehaven were suffering with extreme agitation and visual and auditory hallucinations, said North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust.



In the most serious cases, patients were admitted to the critical care unit and placed under cardiac monitoring for up to 12 hours.



In one case it took four porters to restrain a young woman believed to have taken the party drug, the trust said.



A 17-year-old boy was also arrested on suspicion of actual bodily harm after he allegedly assaulted a man who worked at the hospital.



Another five people thought to have taken Ivory Wave were brought into the same hospital at the weekend but were later allowed home.



Last Wednesday, police seized "numerous" substances including Ivory Wave when they raided four addresses in Whitehaven and Workington.



Two Whitehaven men, aged 55 and 29, were arrested on suspicion of supplying class B drugs and then bailed as tests were carried out on the substances.



Speaking last week, Dr Kate Wilmer, consultant cardiologist at West Cumberland Hospital, warned the symptoms witnessed were "much worse" than the effects of the banned drug mephedrone.



She said: "People are coming into the hospital in an extremely agitated state with acute paranoid psychosis. If you try to give them anything to help them, they are convinced you are trying to harm them so we have had to completely knock out two or three of them in order to treat them



"All have had a very fast heart rate so we have been monitoring them in the critical care unit for about 12 hours. The drugs are getting out of their system but it is taking two to three days for the agitation and psychosis to wear off.



"I have never seen anything like it, it is really awful. The effects are much worse than with the 'plant food'."



She added the initial symptoms shown could be the "tip of the iceberg".



"What we don't know is whether this could cause long-term psychiatric problems for these people," she said.



No similar cases had been reported at West Cumberland Hospital before last week and none have so far been seen at Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle.



A trust spokeswoman said: "We had another five cases at the weekend but we were better prepared at how to deal with them and all of them were later released to undergo home-based care."



Police issued their own warning following the arrests by drug squad officers last week.



Detective Inspector Jason Robinson, of West Cumbria CID, said: "What these incidents show us is that young people in west Cumbria are continuing to put their future and their lives at risk by taking drugs.



"We know that many so-called 'legal highs' often contain class B controlled drugs (such as mephedrone and BZP) and the risks and consequences of getting involved with them are serious.



"People wrongly assume that a substance is safe because it is currently legal, which couldn't be further from the truth. The fact is that people who take substances like Ivory Wave are taking serious risks - no-one knows what the drug is mixed with or the long-term effects that it can have.



"The only safe option is to avoid drugs and legal highs altogether.



"In west Cumbria, police are committed to reducing the impact of all drugs on our communities so we will enforce the law wherever we suspect illegal drugs are being used or sold. If we seize a legal high we will analyse it and if it is found to be unlawful then that could carry up to a five-year sentence for possession.



"If you are buying large quantities and selling it on to friends, then that's possession with intent to supply which carries a prison sentence of up to 14 years."



NHS Cumbria's director of public health, Professor John Ashton, said: "As with all so-called legal highs we need to be careful that we don't concentrate too highly on one specific substance. Instead, we need to get the message across to people that taking drugs of any kind, whether illegal or so-called legal, is a risk.



"There is no regulation for either illegal drugs or legal highs so people do not know what they are taking, what chemicals they contain and/or what effects could be. The ingredients and strength of each substance can also change from batch to batch as drugs are cut differently.



"We need to educate people of these dangers so they can make the right choices. One of the most important messages we must get across is that it's vital that if anyone does take a legal high or illegal drug is that they should not mix it with any drug or substance, particularly alcohol, as the consequences cannot be predicted.



"However, if someone does decide to take drugs, I'd ask them to please let someone else know what they are doing and what they are taking. This will mean that if anyone does start to experience negative effects then they can be helped to seek urgent medical help and be given the correct treatment."

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
A still from the 1939 film version of Margaret Mitchell's 'Gone with the Wind'
life
Sport
David Silva strokes home his and City's second goal
football
Arts and Entertainment
a clockwork orange, stanley kubrick
film
Extras
The Tesco Hudl2: An exceptional Android tablet that's powerful, well-built and outstanding value
indybest

News
Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
Sport
After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
cricket
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
Life and Style
food + drinkAuthor DBC Pierre presents his guide to the morning after
Life and Style
food + drink
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Finance Director

    £65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...

    Recruitment Genius: Medico-Legal Assistant

    £15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...

    Ashdown Group: (PHP / Python) - Global Media firm

    £50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...

    The Jenrick Group: Quality Inspector

    £27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...

    Day In a Page

    Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
    Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

    Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

    As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
    The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

    The Interview movie review

    You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
    Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

    How podcasts became mainstream

    People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

    Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
    Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

    A memorable year for science – if not for mice

    The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
    Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

    Christmas cocktails to make you merry

    Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
    5 best activity trackers

    Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

    Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
    Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

    Paul Scholes column

    It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
    Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

    Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

    2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

    Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

    The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
    Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

    Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

    The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
    Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

    The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

    Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas