Legal high substances that killed 68 people last year are being sold for a tenner from two city market stalls, the Citizen can reveal.
The tiny packets, sold as ‘chemical research powders’ are as addictive as heroin and just as dangerous.
This week the Citizen is urging MPs, police and trading standards to get these synthetic drugs banned by law so suppliers and users can be arrested.
We spoke to a former addict, who has spent £20,000 in the past two years buying the packets from smoking paraphernalia stalls at CMK market and Wolverton’s Agora Centre.
Nick, 44, is now one month into a full-blown detox programme and doctors are horrified at his withdrawal symptoms.
“It’s like I’m coming off heroin or cocaine. I’ve been sweating, shaking and hallucinating. My doctor says he’s never seen anything like it. Goodness knows what’s in this stuff but it must be really evil,” he told the Citizen.
Nick spent all his spare cash on the substances, sold under names such as Pandora’s Box, BenzoFury and Clockwork Orange.
Described on the packet as “research chemicals”, some are labelled as extreme herbal incense and carry a ‘poison – do not swallow’ warning.
Said Nick: “The labelling is just to get round the law. There’s only one reason people buy this stuff and that’s to smoke it, sniff it or swallow it.”
Said Nick: “I’ve seen 15-year-olds buying this stuff. It’s crazy – the whole lot should be banned immediately before there is another death right here in Milton Keynes.”
Following a trading standards investigation last year, the CMK market trader, who is situated next to the children’s sweet stall, now sells the packets “under the counter”, claimed Nick.
The stall at Wolverton openly sold Pandora’s Box to Citizen reporters this week.
Nationally health researchers have warned that anybody experimenting with such legal highs is “dancing in a minefield.”
New figures show the number of deaths from legal highs has risen from 10 in 2009 to 68 in 2012.
Yet the number of deaths from illegal drugs has tumbled by almost a quarter in the same period.
Professor Fabrizio Schifano, from the National Programme of Substance Abuse Deaths, said: “The worrying trend is that these types of drugs are showing up more than ever before. Clearly this is a major public health concern. Those experimenting with such substances are effectively dancing in a minefield.”
The Citizen is now passing the evidence of local suppliers on to Trading Standard, police and city MPs.