A mother has slammed the “epidemic” of legal highs in Northern Ireland, after the drugs claimed the life of her 17-year-old son.
Adele Wallace’s son Adam was found lying outside a house in Newtownards, County Down, after taking legal highs and was pronounced dead a short time later.
Adele said that many more services are needed to tackle the problem as Adam was unable to find help.
Speaking to BBC Radio’s Good Morning Ulster programme, Adele said she had taken her son “everywhere possible” but couldn’t get the help he needed.
“There are not enough services or provision of services for the volume and demand because there is an epidemic of legal highs in Northern Ireland now, it is saturated with them.”
It is as easy as turning on the water tap to get hold of stuff like this.Adele Wallace
Adele said that she was horrified when she first found out how easy it is to obtain legal highs and warned people to stay away from them, calling them “vile, toxic, deadly drugs”.
She said: “There is so much of it out there, so many sites that are selling this stuff and then of course you get the other side of the coin, people dealing in the street round the corner”.
“It is as easy as turning on the water tap to get hold of stuff like this.”
Earlier this year, the UK Government launched a Bill to crack down on the dangerous substances.
Currently in the UK, individual legal highs are banned on a case-by-case basis but manufacturers are able to get around the law by tweaking the chemical composition of the drugs.
The Psychoactive Substances Bill will introduce a blanket ban, based on the “psychoactive” effect the drugs have.
When it launched the new Bill, the Government said there were 120 deaths involving new psychoactive substances in England, Scotland and Wales in 2013.