10 things about legal highs you should know

The name “legal high” makes some people believe that these drugs won’t do them any harm. After all, if you can buy them in a shop, then they must be safe, right? Absolutely wrong! Legal highs are only legal because the people who manufacture them have modified the ingredients just enough to mean that they haven’t yet been classified as illegal. Anyone who takes these, so called, legal highs, is taking a big risk. You can experience hallucinations, fitting and yes, they can kill. A friend of mine, who use to take hard drugs, told me that even if he was still using, he “wouldn’t put that crap in his body”. Because they are legal and some of them are relatively cheap, they are a big temptation to youngsters so; here are ten facts about legal highs to tell your kids.

1. Legal highs are not safe
The only reason that these drugs can be sold is that the powers that be haven’t had time to ban them yet. You won’t find them in your local Tesco’s, but they can be found on market stalls, at music festivals, on websites and in, what I would call ‘hippy shops’.  They are not at all safe, this is a very common misconception, what they are a potentially dangerous concoction of chemicals that simply haven’t been classified yet.

2. You never know what you are getting 
Just because what you took the last time didn’t have an adverse effect on you, that doesn’t mean that it won’t the next time. Manufacturers if legal highs are always trying to keep one step ahead of the authorities so they change the ingredients of legal highs on a regular basis. Just as it is with illegal drugs, you never know what you are really getting.

3. Many drugs sold as legal highs have since been banned
What is legal today probably won’t be tomorrow, and that should be enough to tell you what legal highs really are. Many drugs that you used to be able to buy legally have now been banned under the Misuse of Drugs Act

4. Butane gas is legal, but that doesn’t mean that you should sniff it
The perception is that taking a legal high is no more dangerous than drinking alcohol, but that is way off the mark. Kids, who wouldn’t dream of sniffing butane gas or glue, would take a legal high and it this perception that needs to be changed.

5. What they contain is not always legal
You might think that you are safe from prosecution if you are found in possession of legal highs, but that may not be the case. When some legal highs have been tested they have been found to contain illegal drugs as well, so you could still be breaking the law.

6. Legal highs are just as strong as illegal drugs
Another of the myths about legal highs is that they are not as strong as illegal drugs, but that’s not true either. If anything, legal highs are often stronger than illegal drugs because they haven’t been cut with other substances to make them go further.

7. Don’t be fooled by the term ‘herbal’
The term herbal, used to describe some legal highs, implies that it as safe as a cup of tea or some kind of traditional Chinese medicine, but this is untrue too. Even the so called herbal legal highs are pretty potent and can cause hallucinations.

8. You can overdose on legal highs
Not only don’t you know exactly what is in a legal high, you don’t you know how strong it is either. They are not produced by reputable pharmaceutical companies so they don’t come with a recommended dosage leaflet and the strength may vary from batch to batch. Just a few grains of some of the most potent legal highs would be enough to cause an overdose.

9. Taking legal highs with alcohol increases the risk of death
Mixing legal highs with other drugs and, or, alcohol, greatly increases the risk of death. Legal highs that have a stimulant effect can mask how drunk a person really is and those that have a depressive effect will exacerbate the depressant effect of alcohol. Quite apart from that, if you are drunk, you are more likely to take more legal highs than you would do sober.

10. They do kill
These drugs are dangerous and many of them have never been properly tested before they hit the shops. Some of them are even labelled ‘not for human consumption’. There is no question that legal highs can cause some horrific effects on people and they can kill. 

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10 signs that your child might be using drugs

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