Police Scotland swooped on a Peterhead shop on Thursday after a tip-off about controlled drugs.
A search warrant involving about a dozen uniformed and plain-clothed officers was executed during the afternoon as part of an intelligence-led operation at the ‘Just The Thing’ store on the town’s Backgate.
During the raid officers sezied a class-B substance believed to be cannabis. A man is currently assisting police with their enquiries.
Just the Thing has recently become the focal point of concern within the community for its supply of New Psychoactive Substances (NPS), often incorrectly known as ‘Legal Highs’.
Inspector Andy Imray, of the Buchan Community Policing Team, said: “Just as with controlled drugs you can never be sure what you are actually taking when you take NPS.
“We would warn people that there is no safe way to take NPS or controlled drugs - there is always a risk. The only way of staying safe is to avoid these substances altogether.
“Without qualified chemical analysis, it is not possible to determine what substances are involved. Previously, some NPS have been analysed and found to contain a variety of toxic and illegal drugs.
“The dangers and risks to health, or indeed life, associated with the consumption of NPS and controlled drugs are significant in themselves, however this is increased further when you mix different drug types together, or when mixed with alcohol.”
He added: “Anyone in possession of a New Psychoactive Substance is running the risk of being in possession of an illegal drug. Ignorance of the fact that the drug may be illegal is of no consequence.
“If you, your son, daughter or friend is found in possession of a powder, capsule or tablet by the Police, this will be seized and sent for analysis. If it is found to contain an illegal drug, that person may face a criminal charge and conviction.
“Illegal drugs are controlled because harm is associated with taking them. Taking any form of drug, known or unknown is potentially harmful. We aim to keep people safe.”
Police Scotland are continuing to work with Aberdeenshire Drug and Alcohol Partnership, local groups and schools to educate young people, their parents and the wider community on the dangers of substance misuse.
Other coordinated work takes place with The Scottish Government, the Scottish Drugs Forum, and Young Scot.
Christine Herron, health improvement officer for Alcohol & Drugs in Aberdeenshire, said: “In November 2012, Aberdeenshire ADP hosted an awareness session for professionals which was attended by over 100 delegates from NHS, Local Authority, Police and Voluntary Sector staff.
“A session specifically aimed at parents in the Peterhead area is taking place at Arbuthnot House on June 16, from 7pm to 9pm, to help them feel equipped to discuss these issues with their children.
“Next month, along with colleagues from Moray ADP and Aberdeen City ADP, we are launching a Grampian-wide campaign aimed at the general public using social networks to help inform people of the potential risks involved. This campaign will be launched ahead of the festival season to encourage people to enjoy themselves safely.”
Aberdeenshire Alcohol and Drug Partnership (ADP) is a multi-disciplinary, multi-agency partnership which brings stakeholders together to work collaboratively on the issues presented by problematic alcohol and drug use.It has been monitoring the heightened activity involving New Psychoactive Substancesacross the region.
Wayne Gault, lead officer for the ADP, told the Buchanie: “We’ve noted with some concern, the changing pattern of drug use, particularly the growth in availability of NPS, misleadingly known as ‘legal highs’. NPS are a range of chemicals that can be used to induce an intoxicated state. They tend to be marked ‘not for human consumption’ as a means of getting round the law.”
Anyone seeking help or advice on the use of legal highs can contact either Northern Horizons, at 9 St Peter Street, Peterhead, on 01779 470490 or Drugs Actions Helpline on 01224 594700.