THE head of a school at the centre of a drugs scare has said every head teacher in the country should be aware of “legal highs”.

Jeff Bower, head of Woldgate College, in Pocklington, said the drug-induced collapse which saw a 17-year-old sixth-former rushed to York Hospital, had hit the school “right between the eyes” – and urged other heads to take pro-active action to prevent further incidents.

The pupil, who has not been named, has been suspended from school indefinitely for consuming the drug mephedrone, a “legal high” drug – one that mirrors the effects of prohibited substances, but is not banned. Mr Bower said he was facing one of two options in regard to the boy.

“Either he will be permanently excluded or temporarily excluded for a very long time,” he said. “We are in a difficult position because this drug is legal and so our decision cannot be as clear cut as it would have been had he been caught with cannabis, for example.

“But we want to make an example of him to the other students in the school.

“Just because this drug is not illegal does not make it safe.”

Mr Bower described the student’s collapse as “a very scary situation” and said everyone needed to work together to prevent a similar incident – or worse – happening again.

“I think legal highs are a huge issue and I am convinced it is happening up and down the country.”

He said it was a national problem that needed urgent action, to stop “something terrible” happening.

“All head teachers should be aware of it, as should parents – everyone needs to chip-in and help control this situation,” he said.

“In the meantime, people dealing this drug are laughing all the way to the bank because this drug is not illegal.”

The drug – commonly known as Meow, bubbles, M-CAT or 4-MMC – is not controlled under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, and is available to purchase in some shops or through the internet providing it is sold as plant fertiliser that it is not for human consumption.

The recreational drug comes in crystal, powder, capsule or liquid form and has effects similar to that of amphetamines and ecstasy.

Mr Bower said a special assembly would be held at the school to raise awareness of the drug, which led to the tragedy of 14-year-old schoolgirl, Gabrielle Price, from West Sussex, who died in November from a heart attack after taking the “legal high”.