‘Legal highs put my teenage daughter in a coma’

A mother whose teenage daughter was left in a coma for two days after smoking ‘legal highs’ has told BBC Panorama of her trauma.

Cheryl could only look on as her daughter’s heart stopped – she was given just a ten per cent chance of survival.

The girl, Sharon, has now fully recovered and says she is “wiser” and “more grown up” following the experience.


BBC Panorama was investigating the drugs, formerly known as legal highs, in the months after a blanket ban was introduced by the Government.

Reporter Benjamin Zand heard how Sharon had smoked a ‘legal high’ at a party. She later ran home and it was only when she fell out of bed that the severity of the situation was discovered and she was taken to hospital.

Sharon described the effect of the drug as sending her “loopy”, and said it had made her feel like she could not breathe.


Mother and daughter were visibly shaken during the interview – one of a number on the programme with users of the drugs.

Chantelle began taking New Psychoactive Substances (NPS) – as ‘legal highs’ are officially called – when she was just 18 years old.

She started shoplifting in an attempt to pay for the drugs.


Another interview showed Paul with now-empty drug packets, which had cost him around £400.

He said his life had been ruined by the drugs, explaining that his cravings made him desperate and violent.

The Psychoactive Substances Act came into force in May 2016. Under the Act, dealers can face up to seven years in prison and those found in possession of the substances could face up to two years.


It was revealed earlier this month that hundreds of arrests have taken place since the new law was introduced.

Only a handful of people had been jailed, but the Government said other cases were “still being progressed through the criminal justice system”.

‘Legal highs’ were responsible for 204 deaths in 2015.

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