'Legal' doesn't mean 'safe' - key message following school incident
5:02pm Tuesday 20th May 2014 in News
THE headteacher of Pembroke School has reassured parents after a group of pupils fell ill at the school last after taking a “legal high” last Wednesday (May 14).
Four emergency ambulances and the Air Ambulance were called to the site just after 2pm.
Headteacher Frank Ciccotti told the Western Telegraph: “A lot of staff and students are angered that the good name of Pembroke School has been tarnished by this incident involving a few irresponsible pupils.”
Mr Ciccotti sent a letter of home to parents reassuring them that the incident was “isolated”, involving a year 10 boy who had brought a “legal high” into school to share with a group of 10 friends.
He added: “Unfortunately, one student had a very severe reaction to it. This was reported to us by responsible students.
“He was so unwell that we called for an ambulance and they in turn called the air ambulance as a precautionary measure, although ultimately it was not used to take him to hospital.
“Together with all the pupils who had taken the drug, he was checked in hospital and released later that evening. All are now well.”
The pupils involved have been given fixed term exclusions.
“Pembroke School takes a strong stand against drugs, and our PSE programme brings in expert speakers to emphasise the risks and dangers of both legal and illegal drugs,” said Mr Ciccotti.
Last Thursday, Dyfed-Powys Police issued a warning about the dangers of legal highs.
A police spokesman said: “New psychoactive substances (so-called “legal highs”) frequently contain substances that are not legal and cannot be assumed safe.
“These substances have not been properly tested to see how toxic they are to humans so there is no way of telling how a psychoactive drug will affect you.
“Information on substance misuse for parents and pupils can be found at www.schoolbeat.org.”
Officers also visited the school to provide advice, support and reassurance, and conduct further enquiries.
Rhys Jordan, 24, director of DrugEd, has been educating young people about drugs for the last five years.
He said: “The main message is that legal doesn’t mean safe. We can’t call them legal highs because if the products are sold for human consumption that’s against the law.
“What we call them is new psychoactive substances. They are not deemed safe for human consumption and just because they have not been classed illegal that doesn’t make them safe.”
He added: “The more education we can give to people, the more able they are to make better choices, the safer they will be.”
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