POLICE are to keep a closer eye on schools at lunchtime after a teenage girl almost died as a result of taking dangerous drugs near Johnstone High.

The 15-year-old girl needed urgent hospital treatment after she was found unconscious last week.

Officers are now drawing up an action plan to look out for any youngsters potentially taking harmful substances.

The Johnstone High pupil, who was not attending school that day, had been with her friends and bought what she thought was cannabis.

But, after taking a few draws, she suffered a reaction similar to that of a heroin overdose.

The girl was treated by paramedics and given the opioid receptor Narcan – short for Naloxone – before being taken to the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, in Glasgow.

She came round about half an hour after arriving at hospital and was discharged later that day.

The Gazette: Inspector Jim Cast promised the police would work with Johnstone High School Inspector Jim Cast promised the police would work with Johnstone High School

The hospital has since confirmed there was no heroin or cannabis in her system and police have said they believe she may have taken ‘Spice’ – a mix of herbs and laboratory-made chemicals which can have major mind-altering effects.

Inspector Jim Cast, of Renfrewshire’s Community Policing Team, said: “We are now working with schools to drill the message home that, even if it seems like it may be a softer drug, you just don’t know.

“We do believe the substance taken could have been Spice, which can have all sorts of things in it, such as rat poison. It can look like cannabis but might not be.

“Before last summer, we drew up an action plan to target schools at lunchtimes and we’ll be doing that again now.

“We go into schools on a regular basis anyway to educate about drugs and alcohol – and headteachers can contact us if they have any particular concerns.”

Police have said a 16-year-old boy has been charged with supplying drugs in connection with the incident, which took place last Wednesday, and will appear in court later this month.

Following the harrowing incident, The Gazette spoke to Louise Dempsey, founder of Linwood charity Youth Interventions, which aims to educate young people about the effects of drugs and alcohol.

Louise has been delivering workshops at Linwood High School recently, focusing on understanding risk and reducing harm.

“I fundamentally believe we have a duty of care to educate young people,” said Louise. “If they do not know what they are taking and they do not know the potential impact that can have on their body and mental health, then what’s stopping them?

“They are naturally risk-taking people. They are at a stage where they are learning what’s safe and what isn’t. If we don’t educate them, we are failing in our duty of care.”

Louise added that she often finds herself feeling frustrated by some people’s judgemental attitudes towards young people taking drugs.

She said: “Unfortunately, the nature of the drugs market is you just do not know what you are buying. Drug dealers are dealing drugs to make a profit. They are not interested in a duty of care.

The Gazette: Louise Dempsey outside her Linwood hub Louise Dempsey outside her Linwood hub

“The young girl that took it, I mean, what a shame. It’s not a case of bad people take drugs. Young people experiment.

“We need to have honest conversations with young people. We are not there to say ‘don’t take drugs.’ We are there to try to help people understand that, if this is part of their adolescence, then let’s talk about keeping them safe.”

Renfrewshire Council has said its staff will continue to support the pupil on her return to school.

A spokesperson added: “We work closely with police to educate pupils in all our schools about the dangers of drug use.”

Read all the latest from Renfrewshire and beyond