Many people believe that just because a drug is legal, it is safe to take. This is an understandable belief but, unfortunately, it is incorrect. There are many substances available on the market that are legal to buy and use but are not safe at all. Legal highs, or new psychoactive substances, are made to replicate the effects of many illegal substances. However, the manufacturers of these substances are always changing the formulas, so those who take them could be inadvertently putting themselves in danger.
Legal highs are either synthetic or herbal blends and are created to act in a similar way to drugs such as cocaine, cannabis, ecstasy, heroin or LSD. Many teenagers are taking legal highs because they are cheap, readily available, and there are no penalties for possessing them. However, what many of them do not realise is that these can be just as strong as their illegal counterparts can – and just as addictive. Moreover, in many cases, they can be dangerous, and even fatal.
Legal high manufacturers are getting around the law by blending substances that are not covered under the Misuse of Drugs Act. Although some substances that were once available as legal highs are now banned, manufacturers just keep replacing these with new substances. It is difficult for the Government to control the sale and manufacture of legal highs because the formulas keep changing. It is also difficult for doctors to treat people who react to these substances because they have no idea what the ingredients are.
A number of substances or ingredients are illegal when sold for human consumption. However, manufacturers and retailers of these substances can get around this by labelling them as ‘not fit for human consumption’. They can advertise them as incense, bath salts, or plant food and sell them legally. The manufacturers will say that what people choose to do with them after that is not their responsibility.
Legal highs are causing problems among young people all over the country, and the problem is that nobody knows exactly what they are taking. Because manufacturers are constantly changing the formulae, users may find that they are okay with a particular substance one time but could react badly to the ‘same’ one the next time. Legal highs are unregulated, and those who take them have no way of knowing what the substance contains or how strong it is. They also have no idea if they will experience any nasty side effects.
Because legal highs are new and untested, it is difficult to know what the long-term health implications could be. However, studies have shown that they can be highly addictive. A recent case of a teenager in Belfast, who died after taking legal highs, highlighted the addictive nature of these substances – he had struggled with addiction to these substances for three years and had been unsuccessful in beating it.
Another issue with legal highs is the fact that many users will experience suicidal tendencies while under the influence. Many doctors have expressed concern about the fact that patients under the influence of legal highs often require restraining because of their change in behaviour. Doctors are also concerned that legal highs can affect breathing and blood pressure.
Addiction of any kind is an illness and, as such, requires treatment. Rehab Helper is a free referral service working with clients who suffer from all types of addiction. We can put clients in touch with suitable treatment providers based on their specific needs. If you or a loved one is suffering from addiction, contact Rehab Helper today for more information on how we can help you.