Mum's fury after sons legal high nightmare

Mum's fury after sons legal high nightmare

Mum's fury after sons legal high nightmare

First published in Somerset
Last updated

By Oliver Hill

A HORRIFIED mum from Taunton is calling for the sale of legal highs to be regulated after her 14-year-old son collapsed from the effects of a substance.

Michelle Winfield’s nightmare began on Monday when she got a phone call from a friend to say her son had collapsed in Vivary Park after smoking a legal high called purple haze.

She said: “I went down there and found him on his own in a terrible state.

“He was as white as a sheet, shaking and vomiting.

“I was just beside myself, it was such a worry and I took him straight to hospital.”

Her son was assessed by doctors at Musgrove Park Hospital where his heart was monitored as the effects of the high wore off.

He was later discharged but his mother was asked to make hourly checks on his condition at home.

A friend of her son, also in his teens, claims he bought the purple haze from the Hush shop in Bridge Street. The Hush shop denies the claim.

Purple haze is a strain of cannabis which is currently unclassified and legal to buy at any age.

Michelle said: “I went in there and confronted the shop owner and told him what happened.

“I got abuse from other people there who said that they had smoked this stuff and never had the effects my son had.

“But kids can just go in and buy it with their pocket money.

“They don’t understand that just because it’s cheap and they’re able to buy it doesn’t mean that they should.”

The 40-year-old mum and a group of friends are now starting a petition calling for legal highs to be regulated so that children cannot buy them.

She said: “It needs to be regulated. How can you approve kids buying it?

“I put a message out on Facebook and I was so shocked at the number of parents whose children had taken these legal highs and been rushed to hospital.”

Hush told the Gazette that they have a strict policy of not selling their products to anyone under the age of 18.

Shop owner Simon Tomlin said: “We comply with everything in accordance with Trading Standards and have regular inspections from them.

“We have a no ID, no sale policy and we have a refusal log for any instances where someone cannot provide proof of age.

“Obviously we don’t want her son in hospital and we do everything we can to co-operate with Trading Standards and the police in this very unregulated market.”

Hush said that they have reviewed eight hours of CCTV footage in the shop to determine if and how the purple haze could have been sold to the 14-year-old but found no evidence of this taking place. They added that they were happy to let police view their CCTV records should they feel the case needed further investigation.

It is the latest in a string of incidents where people have been taken to hospital locally after ingesting legal highs.

A group of eight Lithuanian cherry pickers needed medical attention after eating a cake which contained legal highs. The source of the substance is not clear.

A rapid response car and two ambulances attended a property in West Newton after the workers dialled 999, complaining of heart problems and of being hot and sweaty.

A spokesperson for Musgrove Park Hospital said: “We are seeing an increase in people attending A&E suffering from adverse affects from taking legal highs.

“People need to remember that just because they are called legal highs does not mean they are safe to consume.

“Quite often we and the person taking them have no idea what is in them, which then makes it almost impossible to treat when they come into hospital.”

Comments (15)

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12:09pm Thu 21 Aug 14

r000006 says...

Shoddy reporting again.

"Purple haze is a strain of cannabis which is currently unclassified and legal to buy at any age. "

No, Purple haze is a strain of cannabis and like other strains of cannabis is currently illegal, but probably 1000 time safer than this legal high crap.

The legal high product 'Purple Haze' on the other hand is AFAIK a synthetic cannabis, cooked in a 'lab' in China.
Shoddy reporting again. "Purple haze is a strain of cannabis which is currently unclassified and legal to buy at any age. " No, Purple haze is a strain of cannabis and like other strains of cannabis is currently illegal, but probably 1000 time safer than this legal high crap. The legal high product 'Purple Haze' on the other hand is AFAIK a synthetic cannabis, cooked in a 'lab' in China. r000006
  • Score: 27

1:03pm Thu 21 Aug 14

kickslikeamule says...

Yes. Another example of our ridiculous laws which state a natural plant is illegal but synthetic crap which is more and more often appearing in the news as giving users dreadful symptoms, sometimes death, is legal! Where is the sense in this?Then again, tobacco and alcohol are legal too - and these too can cause death, but I guess that's another debate.
Yes. Another example of our ridiculous laws which state a natural plant is illegal but synthetic crap which is more and more often appearing in the news as giving users dreadful symptoms, sometimes death, is legal! Where is the sense in this?Then again, tobacco and alcohol are legal too - and these too can cause death, but I guess that's another debate. kickslikeamule
  • Score: 18

1:52pm Thu 21 Aug 14

banthebias says...

What actually happened was the son didn't purchase the product, he got someone else to (the same problems faced by retailers of alcohol). He lied to his mother about who bought the product. He firstly claimed he was sold it, then he said that his friend bought it (also 14) but this is not the case. The child has lied to his parents (I think a lot of us would have done the same at 14 years old!) and as a result the Hush shop has once again become the focus of an unfair report on Legal Highs. The one thing the mother does have right though is that the industry needs to be regulated, but the government doesn't have the guts to do so. So when you hear of unfortunate stories like this where the shop is clearly not to blame, blame the politicians not the shops. Local MP Jeremy Browne is currently compiling a report for the government explaining how decriminalisation, regulation and education in countries such as Holland, Portugal and Spain has lead to a drop in addiction, anti-social behaviour, teenage pregnancy, STD's and an educated choice can made by the potential user as education is the key to reducing harm.
What actually happened was the son didn't purchase the product, he got someone else to (the same problems faced by retailers of alcohol). He lied to his mother about who bought the product. He firstly claimed he was sold it, then he said that his friend bought it (also 14) but this is not the case. The child has lied to his parents (I think a lot of us would have done the same at 14 years old!) and as a result the Hush shop has once again become the focus of an unfair report on Legal Highs. The one thing the mother does have right though is that the industry needs to be regulated, but the government doesn't have the guts to do so. So when you hear of unfortunate stories like this where the shop is clearly not to blame, blame the politicians not the shops. Local MP Jeremy Browne is currently compiling a report for the government explaining how decriminalisation, regulation and education in countries such as Holland, Portugal and Spain has lead to a drop in addiction, anti-social behaviour, teenage pregnancy, STD's and an educated choice can made by the potential user as education is the key to reducing harm. banthebias
  • Score: 0

3:11pm Thu 21 Aug 14

Somerset_BTGOG says...

The sooner this rubbish made illegal the better.
The sooner this rubbish made illegal the better. Somerset_BTGOG
  • Score: 11

6:58pm Thu 21 Aug 14

ladybird14 says...

Does anyone no if there is a problem with it anywhere else in the UK ? as i am thinking there are other shops like HUSH in the UK selling it ?!!
Does anyone no if there is a problem with it anywhere else in the UK ? as i am thinking there are other shops like HUSH in the UK selling it ?!! ladybird14
  • Score: 0

10:31pm Thu 21 Aug 14

Ask Sense says...

the fact it said 18s only and not fit for human consumption didn't make him think he shouldn't do it then!...and its interesting your first response would be to update your facebook status and contact the local paper..you know so everyone in the county gets to know!.. my 15yr old daughters pregnant!..best not support her best go to the gazette and make sure everyone knows, my sons just robbed from Tesco, better make sure I do a facebook status update on it make sure everyone knows hes a criminal!! rofl!..some people hu!
the fact it said 18s only and not fit for human consumption didn't make him think he shouldn't do it then!...and its interesting your first response would be to update your facebook status and contact the local paper..you know so everyone in the county gets to know!.. my 15yr old daughters pregnant!..best not support her best go to the gazette and make sure everyone knows, my sons just robbed from Tesco, better make sure I do a facebook status update on it make sure everyone knows hes a criminal!! rofl!..some people hu! Ask Sense
  • Score: 18

10:44pm Thu 21 Aug 14

Ask Sense says...

cant even say anything about the legality issue as it has 18+ on the packet therefore he was braking the law in the first place by consuming it!...would the response be the same if he collapsed from alcohol I wonder!?..and yes ladybird theres not just other shops you can get it from in the country there are others it can be bought from here as well as online its just hush takes the flack from everyone because of its "street" image, graffiti and connections to other products. often its just assumed due to the fact its popular that they are to blame!
cant even say anything about the legality issue as it has 18+ on the packet therefore he was braking the law in the first place by consuming it!...would the response be the same if he collapsed from alcohol I wonder!?..and yes ladybird theres not just other shops you can get it from in the country there are others it can be bought from here as well as online its just hush takes the flack from everyone because of its "street" image, graffiti and connections to other products. often its just assumed due to the fact its popular that they are to blame! Ask Sense
  • Score: 12

9:06am Fri 22 Aug 14

charlie2306 says...

i would just like to point out that the use of the word cannabis is totally misleading. this "purple haze" is a product that mimics the effect of cannabis. it is not a strain and has no cannabis in it what so ever. cannabis is a safe drug. in 5000 years of human usage there has been no deaths due to its direct usage. keep up the anti drug propaganda and these horror stories will keep happening. when will we all be able to have a sensible debate like grown up on drug policy in the uk? the reason legal highs are out there is because of demand. please take your heads out of the sand. the only way to stop the infiltration of Chinese made untested leagal highs is to have a taxed and regulated drug market place where purity and strength can be set and profits made pored back into alcohol and drug rehab. anyone who says make them more illegal is just adding to the problem!
i would just like to point out that the use of the word cannabis is totally misleading. this "purple haze" is a product that mimics the effect of cannabis. it is not a strain and has no cannabis in it what so ever. cannabis is a safe drug. in 5000 years of human usage there has been no deaths due to its direct usage. keep up the anti drug propaganda and these horror stories will keep happening. when will we all be able to have a sensible debate like grown up on drug policy in the uk? the reason legal highs are out there is because of demand. please take your heads out of the sand. the only way to stop the infiltration of Chinese made untested leagal highs is to have a taxed and regulated drug market place where purity and strength can be set and profits made pored back into alcohol and drug rehab. anyone who says make them more illegal is just adding to the problem! charlie2306
  • Score: 11

4:02pm Fri 22 Aug 14

ToytownTim says...

Maybe some better parenting would help too? I was brought up to know to avoid ALL drugs.
Maybe some better parenting would help too? I was brought up to know to avoid ALL drugs. ToytownTim
  • Score: 22

5:50pm Fri 22 Aug 14

Dunfo87 says...

hush needs shutting down. since that shop has been in town ive never heard so many local reports, yes there would have been incidents before no doubt but since it has been trading in taunton they have risen. to me there's a clear link. one day, the owner or manager of that store just might themselves have a child who falls to this loophole, and they will have less to say than 'no comment' then.
hush needs shutting down. since that shop has been in town ive never heard so many local reports, yes there would have been incidents before no doubt but since it has been trading in taunton they have risen. to me there's a clear link. one day, the owner or manager of that store just might themselves have a child who falls to this loophole, and they will have less to say than 'no comment' then. Dunfo87
  • Score: 0

9:53am Sat 23 Aug 14

oxyheamaglobin says...

Charlie2306, I think you talk crap there is no such thing as a safe drug and how do you know there has not been any deaths in 5000 years due to cannabis.there have been millions of deaths due to psychosis you turnip go pedal your cannabis bible crap elsewhere
Charlie2306, I think you talk crap there is no such thing as a safe drug and how do you know there has not been any deaths in 5000 years due to cannabis.there have been millions of deaths due to psychosis you turnip go pedal your cannabis bible crap elsewhere oxyheamaglobin
  • Score: -6

5:45pm Sat 23 Aug 14

ninja_butler says...

oxyheamaglobin wrote:
Charlie2306, I think you talk crap there is no such thing as a safe drug and how do you know there has not been any deaths in 5000 years due to cannabis.there have been millions of deaths due to psychosis you turnip go pedal your cannabis bible crap elsewhere
Ho Oxy. I wouldn't say cannabis is "safe" as such, but the risk of death or serious complications are virtually zero, you are more likely to die from drinking too much coffee or having a heart attack while jogging. No one can say for absolute certain that there has never been a death caused by cannabis, it is quite possible there might be people who have a fatal allergy to cannabis (to date, the only allergic reaction to cannabis on record is simple hayfever) but there has never been a single death known to be caused by cannabis. Not one. That makes it statistically safer than any medicine or drug known to man, including aspirin and cough syrup.

Cannabis does NOT cause psychosis. It does in some cases significantly raise the risk of the development of psychosis, but the drug itself does not CAUSE psychosis.
[quote][p][bold]oxyheamaglobin[/bold] wrote: Charlie2306, I think you talk crap there is no such thing as a safe drug and how do you know there has not been any deaths in 5000 years due to cannabis.there have been millions of deaths due to psychosis you turnip go pedal your cannabis bible crap elsewhere[/p][/quote]Ho Oxy. I wouldn't say cannabis is "safe" as such, but the risk of death or serious complications are virtually zero, you are more likely to die from drinking too much coffee or having a heart attack while jogging. No one can say for absolute certain that there has never been a death caused by cannabis, it is quite possible there might be people who have a fatal allergy to cannabis (to date, the only allergic reaction to cannabis on record is simple hayfever) but there has never been a single death known to be caused by cannabis. Not one. That makes it statistically safer than any medicine or drug known to man, including aspirin and cough syrup. Cannabis does NOT cause psychosis. It does in some cases significantly raise the risk of the development of psychosis, but the drug itself does not CAUSE psychosis. ninja_butler
  • Score: 0

5:47pm Sat 23 Aug 14

ninja_butler says...

typo - "Hi" not "Ho".. seven dwarfs..
typo - "Hi" not "Ho".. seven dwarfs.. ninja_butler
  • Score: 1

12:16am Wed 27 Aug 14

Dr Martin says...

ninja_butler wrote:
oxyheamaglobin wrote:
Charlie2306, I think you talk crap there is no such thing as a safe drug and how do you know there has not been any deaths in 5000 years due to cannabis.there have been millions of deaths due to psychosis you turnip go pedal your cannabis bible crap elsewhere
Ho Oxy. I wouldn't say cannabis is "safe" as such, but the risk of death or serious complications are virtually zero, you are more likely to die from drinking too much coffee or having a heart attack while jogging. No one can say for absolute certain that there has never been a death caused by cannabis, it is quite possible there might be people who have a fatal allergy to cannabis (to date, the only allergic reaction to cannabis on record is simple hayfever) but there has never been a single death known to be caused by cannabis. Not one. That makes it statistically safer than any medicine or drug known to man, including aspirin and cough syrup.

Cannabis does NOT cause psychosis. It does in some cases significantly raise the risk of the development of psychosis, but the drug itself does not CAUSE psychosis.
"but there has never been a single death known to be caused by cannabis"

Unlikely to be true
[quote][p][bold]ninja_butler[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]oxyheamaglobin[/bold] wrote: Charlie2306, I think you talk crap there is no such thing as a safe drug and how do you know there has not been any deaths in 5000 years due to cannabis.there have been millions of deaths due to psychosis you turnip go pedal your cannabis bible crap elsewhere[/p][/quote]Ho Oxy. I wouldn't say cannabis is "safe" as such, but the risk of death or serious complications are virtually zero, you are more likely to die from drinking too much coffee or having a heart attack while jogging. No one can say for absolute certain that there has never been a death caused by cannabis, it is quite possible there might be people who have a fatal allergy to cannabis (to date, the only allergic reaction to cannabis on record is simple hayfever) but there has never been a single death known to be caused by cannabis. Not one. That makes it statistically safer than any medicine or drug known to man, including aspirin and cough syrup. Cannabis does NOT cause psychosis. It does in some cases significantly raise the risk of the development of psychosis, but the drug itself does not CAUSE psychosis.[/p][/quote]"but there has never been a single death known to be caused by cannabis" Unlikely to be true Dr Martin
  • Score: 0

9:00am Thu 28 Aug 14

angelmand43@yahoo.com says...

Dunfo87 wrote:
hush needs shutting down. since that shop has been in town ive never heard so many local reports, yes there would have been incidents before no doubt but since it has been trading in taunton they have risen. to me there's a clear link. one day, the owner or manager of that store just might themselves have a child who falls to this loophole, and they will have less to say than 'no comment' then.
I agree with this comment! Close the blessed place down! I know a person so very dear to my heart and am watching him deteriorate because of this horrible legal high rubbish.
Hush may not be the only place that supplies legal high drugs either, its very clear to me that many youngsters and adults out there are ruining their lives because of this awful drug.
Shut down and make it illegal before someone dies!
[quote][p][bold]Dunfo87[/bold] wrote: hush needs shutting down. since that shop has been in town ive never heard so many local reports, yes there would have been incidents before no doubt but since it has been trading in taunton they have risen. to me there's a clear link. one day, the owner or manager of that store just might themselves have a child who falls to this loophole, and they will have less to say than 'no comment' then.[/p][/quote]I agree with this comment! Close the blessed place down! I know a person so very dear to my heart and am watching him deteriorate because of this horrible legal high rubbish. Hush may not be the only place that supplies legal high drugs either, its very clear to me that many youngsters and adults out there are ruining their lives because of this awful drug. Shut down and make it illegal before someone dies! angelmand43@yahoo.com
  • Score: 1

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