A health warning has been issued over a fake ‘THC vape’ (Picture: GMHSC)
At least eight children have recently collapsed in Greater Manchester after vaping Spice falsely sold as ‘natural cannabis’, officials say.
The incidents have affected pupils of secondary school age in various locations around the county since November.
Kids in Oldham, Bury and Rochdale inhaled what they believe to be a THC vape liquid but was in fact the dangerous designer drug, the Greater Manchester Drug Alerts Panel said.
The incidents have prompted health advisors to issue a fresh warning about vaping products in Greater Manchester.
It comes after nine young people collapsed between February and June this year.
Synthetic Cannabis, known as Spice
According to the Manchester Evening News, an ambulance was called to treat several pupils who had ‘vaped’ at a school in Oldham in December.
Another youngster suffered a seizure at a school in the same town, also this month.
In November, a young person collapsed after being forced to vape in Rochdale.
Ambulance crews were called to another school in Oldham after several young people collapsed.
A similar incident unfolded at an educational facility in Bury where a group of pupils became ‘heavily intoxicated’.
Three more pupils at a school in Bury required an ambulance for the same reason.
Greater Manchester Police are investigating, but the exact dates of the incidents are unknown.
The latest warning was issued on behalf of the Greater Manchester Drug Alerts Panel, which brings together police, NHS, local authorities and drug user support agencies.
THC is the chemical that causes the ‘high’ in cannabis.
In these cases, it was mis-sold as ‘THC vape’, THC vape pens, THC oil or cannabis oil.
Laboratory testing showed that some of the vials contained the same chemical used to make Spice, while other vials contained no psychoactive substance at all.
A fresh warning has been issued not to vape cannabis oil products (Picture: GMHSC)
At least eight young people collapsed and had to be treated by emergency ambulance crews in recent weeks (Picture: GMHSC)
Michael Linnell, a drugs use expert who coordinates the multi-agency Greater Manchester Drug Alerts Panel, said: ‘Young people have bought something that is sold as a ‘natural’ cannabis product but which in fact contains the chemicals found in ‘spice’.
‘They think they are getting a product that is highly desirable in their eyes for a bargain price, but they are not.
‘They are getting ripped off and they are taking a much bigger risk. Some of the vape bottles contain spice, while others contain no psychoactive substance at all. They can’t know what they are inhaling.
‘If they inhale spice they risk the very bad reaction we have now seen on at least a dozen occasions since February involving at least 17 young people.
‘The effects of the drug for someone not used to taking spice are very dangerous, unpredictable, and may even be fatal.’
Three boys were arrested on suspicion of possession or supply of a controlled substance on Friday, December 6.
Police searched their homes and found illegal vaping products.
Searches were also conducted at schools in Rochdale where similar products were seized.
Greater Manchester Police’s Chief Superintendent Paul Savill of Local Policing and Criminal Justice said: ‘The offenders undertook a voluntary interview, allowing us to gather further intelligence on the supply of the illegal vaping products as well as educate those involved on the dangers the products pose.
‘The three boys have now been released under investigation.
‘Suppliers of illegal and dangerous vaping products are recklessly targeting children and the vulnerable and we need the public’s help to identify these suppliers and bring them to justice.
‘Alongside safeguarding work we are working closely with schools, partners and stakeholders to reach out to children and with the help of the community, we can remove these products from our streets.’