The people who make and sell legal highs get around the law by advertising them for other purposes, for example saying that they are research chemicals, bath salts or pond cleaner.
There are lots of different types of legal highs. They are made from natural sources such as plants or animals or they can be manmade substances. They can come in the form of liquids, gases or solids.
So, why are people concerned?
Just because a substance is ‘legal’ doesn’t mean that it is safe.
The main concern about legal highs is that users can never know for sure what they actually contain. Recent research has found that many people who use legal highs don’t really know exactly what they are taking and they don’t really care. They tend to call any white powder that makes you high ‘bubble’.
There hasn’t been much research into legal highs yet, so we don’t know exactly what damage they can cause in the short, medium and long term. What we do know is that legal highs tend to be much stronger than known illegal drugs. This means the risk of overdose is much higher, especially if you use it with alcohol or other drugs.
To get around the law, the people making legal highs are always changing the contents and chemical makeup of the substances. They’re not even able to tell you how to use the drugs safely because to do so would be admitting that they are for human use and would break the law. This can make them dangerous to use.
Legal Highs & the Law
The Westminster government has the power to put a temporary ban on any substance that could be harmful and being used as a high. They can use this ban as they wait for a recommendation from the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs. This group is an independent group of experts. They decide if a substance should be controlled by the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. Under the temporary ban it would be illegal to import, give out or sell the drug. You could have it for personal use.
The police have the authority to confiscate legal highs. Legal highs look similar to illegal drugs so the police can take them for testing and also question or arrest the person who had them.