A coroner has warned people who use legal highs that they are playing “Russian roulette” with their lives – during the inquest of a young man who died after taking the substances.
Scott Lambert, 29, was found dead in the bath of his home in High Street, Bonsall, on June 29 last year, Chesterfield coroners’ court heard on Thursday.
Toxicology tests revealed the community support worker had consumed “a number of amphetamine-like substances”.
PC Mark White, of Matlock police station, also told the court there were packets of legal highs on the bathroom floor.
Derbyshire’s senior coroner Dr Robert Hunter said: “It would appear he took these legal highs, got in the bath and was overcome by the complications of the substances.”
Dr Hunter added: “I see more deaths from legal highs than heroin – it’s almost becoming an epidemic.
“People who use them are playing Russian roulette with their lives – they don’t know what’s in them.
“Hopefully people will learn from Mr Lambert’s very, very tragic death.”
Paying tribute to Mr Lambert, friend Matthew Quinn said: “He was a quiet person but good fun with a good sense of humour.”
Dr Hunter recorded a conclusion of misadventure.
• Legal highs produce similar effects to illegal drugs like cocaine, ecstasy and cannabis.
Chesterfield is well-known for its problem with legal highs.
A special investigation by the Derbyshire Times last summer revealed how shopkeepers feared parts of the town centre had become ‘no-go’ zones because of yobbish behaviour fuelled by the substances
Police said the majority of legal highs had been bought from the controversial Reefer shop in Knifesmithgate.
The store now has a new identity and is no longer selling the substances.
Meanwhile, police have stepped up patrols around the Crooked Spire church amid a number of reports about suspected use of legal highs.