Tracey Smith remembers seeing her nephew’s black and blue face when he attacked himself after smoking ‘legal highs’ drugs that can be bought quite openly.
Her friend Georgina Rowley recalls the horror of hearing her son had been diagnosed with “temporary insanity” after taking them.
Both say they have spoken to others, all of whom have a similar story of a loved one whose life was nearly ruined by dangerous hallucinogens they claim can be bought as easily as sweets.
Now, through Facebook, an army of parents have bonded over a shared desire to kick legal highs out of Scarborough.
Within days of its inception, over 500 people joined the group, named ‘Parents against legal highs’.
Founder and mother Alexa Neal says she feels that the problem is reaching “epidemic” levels – and will cause irreversible damage to Scarborough’s youth if something isn’t done to halt it.
“It’s children in Scarborough from every single walk of life who are taking these,” said Alexa.
A veteran of early 90s rave culture, Alexa is no stranger to illegal drugs and candidly admits to dabbling in her youth.
But she added: “These are ten times more dangerous than illegal drugs, as people have no idea what they are doing with them or what’s in them.
“I’ve been contacted by addicts, who say the low they felt was worse than heroin.”
The group not only want the handful of Scarborough shops selling legal highs to pull them from their shelves, but also for the Government to take a harder approach to them.
And Tracey Smith claims that her nephew had “suicidal thoughts” after experimenting with the substance.
Having witnessed the devastating impact of the drugs, she is among many trying to persuade those selling them to let parents put pictures of their children behind a counter, so they know not to sell them any.
But fellow group member Georgina Rowley claims that while they are on-sale, youngsters will still get their hands on them.
She claims children and teenagers will always find a way, be it asking strangers or older friends or siblings to buy them.
Rumours even swirl that drug dealers are even flogging them on the streets as a lucrative side-earner.
“You can say things to kids until you are blue in the face, but that’s not going to stop them,” said Georgina. “As long as they are sold over the counter, they will get their hands on them.”
They gather, often in the tunnel and park near Sainsbury’s, and take them.
“I was there one night, and found seven empty legal high packets littered all over the place,” said mum Tracey Smith.
“If a child sees that in the park, really, what hope is there for the next generation?”
She has heard horror stories of children, in school uniform, lying in the subway unconscious after taking them.
Health chiefs are unable to confirm how many people have been admitted to hospital through legal high misuse, although Tracey – like the other mums – knows of at least one young person’s death where legal highs may have been to blame. And she added: “All we can do, as parents, is try and talk to our children about it.
“But these are going to turn our children into zombies if nothing is done.”