THE public is being warned of the dangers of ‘legal highs’ by police.

As part of their drugs campaign, Cumbria Constabulary is issuing advice on new psychoactive substances and the dangers that these legal drugs bring.

New psychoactive substances have in the past been referred to as ‘legal highs’.

And while these are not classed as controlled drugs, police say the dangers are just as lethal as with banned substances.

Sergeant Jo Smith said: “Referring to them as legal highs inadvertently attracts people to them.

“People take them knowing that the Police can’t arrest them for possession of such drugs.”

Psychoactive substances produce similar effects to controlled substances and are classed in three main categories:

• Stimulants – These produce similar effects to cocaine, ecstasy and amphetamines. These drugs can induce feelings of anxiety, panic, paranoia and even psychosis.

• Sedatives – These produce similar effects to diazepam and cannabis. These drugs reduce inhibitions and concentration, they also slow down reactions.

• Psychedelics – These produce similar effects to LSD, ketamine and magic mushrooms. These drugs can cause confusion and panic. Certain psychedelics can create strong dissociative effects, which can make you feel like your mind and body are separated.

Officers from Cumbria Constabulary attended a national conference in Northampton in June which looked at ways of tackling new psychoactive substances.

One of the key issues was them being referred to as ‘legal highs’.

Sgt Smith, who attended the conference, added: “While these drugs aren’t classed as controlled substances, the dangers remain the same.

“They are highly addictive and can seriously impact the user; on top of this drugs can ruin communities.

“People need to recognise that new psychoactive substances are very unsafe.”

For more information on new psychoactive substances visit or

Anyone who has any information into the supply of drugs in Cumbria or sees suspicious activity is asked to report this to Cumbria Police on 101.