North East sees spike in ambulance call outs related to NPS

Spike in NPS call outs

On the 23rd May 2016, the Psychoactive Substances Act came into effect in the UK, which criminalized the production, distribution, sale and supply of NPS  (novel psychoactive substances) or, then called ‘legal highs’. Since the legislation change there has been a reduction in the number of incidents requiring ambulance call outs. There is still evidence however that these substances are making their way in to the UK.

On 11th October 2016 the North East Ambulance service sent out a warning after there was a sudden spike in the number of NPS related call-outs. Police in Newcastle have also issued a warning claiming that a ‘bad batch’ has made its way into the UK. Over a 24 hour period there were 12 incidents in Newcastle alone with symptoms ranging from seizures, vomiting, foaming at the mouth and unconsciousness.

One victim’s mother has released pictures of her 15 year old daughter Sharon Howe who has hospitalised after smoking Spice:

“I found Sharon lying on her bedroom floor and convulsing, foaming at the mouth with her eyes rolled back into her head. We noticed at the time that her clothes smelled like plastic – it wasn’t until later we learned that was the smell of Spice after it had been burnt.

It was a living nightmare seeing Sharon covered in wires, with machines beeping around her. But thankfully she rallied and doctors brought her out of the coma because tests were showing she would be all right. When she woke up, we all wept tears of relief.”

It seems as though the problem with NPS is one that is not going to go away. The substances are not as easy to obtain, but they are still as dangerous as ever. They are highly addictive and are produced in labs without any form of quality control, making it impossible to fully know what they contain.

About Randox Testing Services

Randox Testing Services is at the forefront of developing tests to detect the presence of NPS. One example of this is that the world’s first synthetic cannabinoid detection ‘spice’ test was developed at Randox. In the endless pursuit of creating innovative tests for new and emerging legal highs, our expertise sets us apart from the rest of the industry. We provide tests for identifying NPSs and operate to provide accurate results and customer satisfaction. For more information on our tests for psychoactive substances visit or contact us at