The increase in incidents involving children vaping spices on school premises is worrying, police confirmed.
There have been a number of incidents in recent weeks involving the taking of the so-called “zombie” drug in Co Armagh.
For two consecutive days, the Portadown campus of Craigavon Senior High School initiated a ‘hold-in-place procedure’ after students reacted badly to vaping the synthetic drug.
It follows a teenager taken to hospital after falling ill from alleged spice consumption while attending Southern Regional College in Armagh on April 30.
Speaking at a community engagement meeting for Armagh and Cusher this week, Sergeant Kelly Moffett revealed that there had been incidents involving the substance in Markethill and Armagh.
“This is a big concern for schools, for young people and for parents,” she commented.
The officer also told the meeting that there had been pre-Christmas incidents across the district and it had “raised heads” once again as schools reopened.
“We have a strategy in place to deal with it when it comes to how we treat young people,” she said. “It involves pitching in with schools and entering the products to make sure we get them tested, to make sure what it is.
“We need to get this information out to the general public, interact with these young people and get into schools to stop what these young people inhale.”
Sergeant Moffett added, “To be honest, that could be all they inhale. They can tell they are inhaling THC, cannabis oil, spices. This is something we need to address with the local people and our community.
“We don’t want this to get out of hand and we certainly don’t want more people to be hospitalized because of it.”
The officer added that people under the age of 18 were not legally allowed to use e-cigarettes and that police would contact local stores to make sure.
“It’s something that we try to keep kids away from, because it’s as bad as all the other drugs out there and because we don’t know how dangerous it can be. We don’t want them to use it at all, ”she warned.
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