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The Commissioner’s response to the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman Bulletin on New Psychoactive Substances

7th July 2015

Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Vera Baird commenting on the bulletin published by the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman on new psychoactive substances (NPS) and prisoner deaths.

“These substances are dangerous and pose huge risks whether taken in or outside of prison. Only this month, in Newcastle, we’ve had two young people taken very ill and hospitalised due to the effects of legal highs.

“It’s a cause for concern that the number of NPS related incidents here in Newcastle is steeply on the rise and that is why I attended and funded a conference last week organised by the YOT and the local authority.  It was attended by key organisations for developing a city wide strategy to tackle the problem head on.

“Education will play a key part in this. Indeed, prison staff need to be fully aware of the signs and prisoners need to be made aware of the risks and effects but the message needs to get out far and wide. We must place a greater focus on educating all young people, their families and all relevant support services to ensure we are safeguarding users and vulnerable people within our area.”