The dangers of legal highs are becoming more apparent, and many people who have had bad experiences from taking these substances are speaking out to warn others. Daniel Jamison became so addicted to legal highs that he thought he would die because of them.
As a teenager, Daniel became addicted to cannabis but when legal highs became readily available, he was only too keen to try them. He says he was told that cannabis was better than alcohol and took it as a way to have fun. However, he says he did not realise that cannabis would become a way for him to cope with the pressures of life and that he would eventually become hooked.
Daniel says that, despite the fact that he was hooked on the Class B drug, he was able to maintain some sense of normal life and had a partner and a job. However, it was when he was twenty-one that his life changed for the worse. This was when he tried legal highs for the first time, something that he says, ‘ruined my life’.
Daniel says his addiction to the ‘legal’ substances worsened every day, with suicidal thoughts, hallucinations, and severe paranoia affecting him deeply. He also suffered from massive headaches, chest pain, and vomiting. Despite the symptoms, Daniel carried on taking the substances because they would send him to sleep.
However, he said, “The problem would be when I woke up with none left; I would have suicidal thoughts and be extremely agitated and aggressive.”
Daniel says it had taken just a week before he felt that he could not get through the day without taking legal highs. His addiction to a substance so readily available meant that he sold everything he owned and lost his home, job, and his partner.
Daniel believes that a near-death experience gave him the kick he needed to get clean. He has now been free of legal highs for six months and spends his free time with support workers in youth centres, educating young people about the dangers of legal high use. He is hoping that by telling his story, he will encourage others to stop using these substances as well as preventing others from trying them in the first place.
The Government has banned a number of legal highs because of the ingredients contained within – mephedrone being just one example. However, the problem seems to be the fact that, when one substance is banned, manufacturers just create something else equally dangerous to replace it. The Government is now looking at legislation that would ban psychoactive substances that cause a particular effect, as opposed to banning them because of the ingredients contained. There was also a call by the Home Office this week for organisers of festivals to ban legal highs.
Some councils are calling on the Government to restrict the sale of legal highs, with others calling for an outright ban.
Many young people are wrongly of the opinion that because legal highs can be bought over the counter, they are safe. The name ‘legal high’ also gives the impression that these psychoactive substances are safe to take when, in fact, they are anything but.
Legal highs are created and sold as plant foods, incense, or salts, and must be marked as unfit for human consumption. However, this does not stop many young people from taking them, with some going on to develop addictions.
If you or a loved one is suffering from an addiction to legal highs, it is time to get help. Rehab Helper is a referral service working hard to ensure that those suffering from all types of addiction get the help they need. We can provide information and advice as well as free referrals to treatment providers all over the UK. Call us today for more information.