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Girls collapse on street 'after taking legal highs'

By David Young

Published 24/02/2016

Police have appealed for information on the incident
Police have appealed for information on the incident

Shocked shoppers yesterday rushed to the aid of three teenage girls who collapsed after allegedly taking legal highs in Belfast's busy Donegall Place.

The girls were in the doorway of a store in the city's main shopping street when the incident happened.

Shopper Eileen Kingston last night told of her horror at hearing the trio collapse.

"The girls were around 16 or 17 years old and were standing in the doorway of the shop with what I thought was a lit cigarette," she said.

"I thought little of it as I went into the shop, but when I got to the till I heard the most unmerciful bang as the three girls fell to the ground."

First aider Eileen, wife of Belfast DUP councillor Brian Kingston, rushed to help the stricken teenagers and managed to bring one round.

"I talked to her, trying to keep her awake and alert," she said. "She said her name was Ruth and told me she had just lost her mother. All three of them were vomiting.

"One of them was turning a funny colour - almost black, the colour of death."

I asked a policewoman to move to the side so Ruth could see what a serious condition her friend was in. That's when Ruth told me it was a herbal legal high they'd smoked.

A spokesman for the Ambulance Service said three crews attended the incident. None of the girls required hospital treatment.

While the girls were okay, Eileen was upset at what had happened. "It was so sad," she said. "It was like a cry for help. It's so sad that these girls have turned to these legal highs. They shouldn't be carrying the problems of the world ."Councillor Kingston added: "I am very concerned at this incident in the city centre of Belfast. Three young women collapsed, apparently after taking a substance.

"This is something we have raised before in the council, and I will be following up this incident with council officers and the police to see what can be done."

Police confirmed they were investigating the incident.

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