A HIGH-RANKING West Mercia police officer has hailed a drop in the use of GHB in Oswestry but has warned revellers not to be tempted by the Class-C drug as Christmas approaches.
Inspector Rik Klair, the officer in charge of policing in Oswestry and North Shropshire, also explained that availabilty of the drug has decreased in the town which he says is due in part to joint enforcement actions by the police and education advice promoted by health and council agencies.
Councillors have joined Inspector Klair in praising the pro-active approach to the situation which has included a campaign by the Advertizer to see the party drug re-classified.
“GHB is still being supplied in the area and remains available, even though the problem has reduced in recent months," Insp Klair said.
“GHB is an extremely dangerous substance. Some of the side effects are quite horrendous and include unconsciousness, convulsions, seizures and vomiting.
“There have been at least two deaths in the area linked to the use of GHB, as well as a number of life-threatening incidents with people being admitted to hospital in a critical condition.
“People turn to GHB because it is relatively cheap but most do not realise how dangerous and addictive it is. I strongly advise people not to be tempted.”
Insp Klair encouraged anyone who needed help breaking a drug habit to contact the community substance misuse team on 01743 258800.
Councillor Keith Barrow, Leader of Shropshire Council and local councillor for Oswestry South, said: “I am very pleased there has been a significant reduction in the supply and usage of GHB, in particular in the Oswestry area, in recent months.
“We are determined to do everything we can, together with our partners, to safeguard our local communities from this dangerous substance, and are addressing it, and responding quickly to local residents who are concerned about their local neighbourhood.”
Oswestry Town Councillor, Vince Hunt, who is also a local Shropshire Councillor for Oswestry West and member of the Place Based Intervention programme which works with drug users added: "I would ask people to stop and ask themselves why they would want to take a drug that destroys lives, if not ends lives, in the most gruesome way.
“Aim to have a good Christmas, this year and for years to come. Stay GHB free.”