Spice normally used to describe the laboratory-created cannabis substitute.
Police in the region are warning youths to avoid smoking “spice” after a number of teenagers have become ill in the borough.
While simulating the effects on the brain of cannabis, its chemical make-up is different and some experts say it can be up to 100 times as potent as the drug it mimics.
The products typically come in the form of herbs sprayed with the chemicals, meaning that they do not necessarily smell like cannabis when smoked.
The European Union has warned of “acute adverse consequences” for users’ health, which are said to include increased heart rates, seizures, psychosis, kidney failure and strokes. Deaths have been reported in Australia and Russia.
A spokesperson for Skelmersdale Police said: “We have had several reports of youths in the Skelmersdale area becoming ill after taking “spice”.
“We would urge anyone who becomes unwell after taking such substances or sees someone becoming unwell, that they seek medical assistance immediately.
“A large number of the chemicals used in spice have become Class B drugs, which are illegal to have, give away or sell.
“You can never be sure what is in a smoking mixture so it’s often hard to tell whether it is illegal or not or what effects it will have on your health.
“If you have any information about these incidents please contact Lancashire Police on 101 or Crimestoppers on Tel : 0800 555 111”
In May two students at Lancaster University were admitted to hospital in a critical condition after taking spice, leading to warnings being issued to other students by the university.
Mark Piper of the toxicology test provider Randox Testing, said: “You don’t know what’s in them and what quantities of chemicals are used. It’s very much backroom and underground chemistry.
“They weren’t even designed to be used on humans.”
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