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Teen close to death taking legal high
5:20pm Tuesday 3rd December 2013 in Southend
A TEENAGER was close to death after taking a ‘legal high’ freely available in Southend shops.
The 16-year-old and a 19-yearold, who did not know each other, were both taken to Southend Hospital after smoking cannabis substitute ‘Pandora’s Box’ – an artificial chemical which was bought in smoking paraphernalia shop Oh Yeah.
The shop, in Southchurch Road, has since stopped selling the product.
The 16-year-old, a South Essex College student from Chelmsford, was found near Warrior Square just after 11.30am on Thursday in a druginduced stupor.
He had been running into the road, seemingly out of his wits, before his legs gave way and he collapsed in the street.
Once at hospital, his heart rate was recorded at 200 beats per minute – far above the 65 beats per minute expected for a person his age.
His mother, who did not want to be named, said she did not know for three hours whether he would live or die and doctors had told her he was very close to suffering a heart attack.
She said: “It was close to being a parent’s worst nightmare.
“I could have been arranging his funeral right now instead of Christmas – that’s how dangerous this stuff is.
“I’m not trying to defend my son, because he did something really stupid, but where is the logic in the fact he would be turned away trying to buy poison in a hardware store, but he could just go into one of these shops and get this stuff in a pretty packet, no questions asked?
“He’s recovering well and will be back in college this week, but the doctors said he could have further episodes for weeks or months.
“We’ll just have to wait and see whether there’s any permanent damage.”
Legal highs can be sold to anyone over 18 – in this instance, the 16-year-old didn’t buy it and was said to have been given it by a friend.
The 19-year-old was reported unwell at 12.10pm and was also taken to Southend Hospital.
Chief Inspector Glen Pavelin led Essex Police’s week of action on legal highs last week and said officers had been visiting schools to give children advice.
He said: “Although these substances are branded as legal, their composition is largely unknown.
“Some are potentially unsafe and others feasibly contain illegal substances.
“Most retailers were unaware of the potential health risks to their customers or the legal risks to themselves.”
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