Legal highs

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What are ‘legal highs’?

So-called ‘legal highs’ – or psychoactive substances – are substances which seek to mimic the effects of drugs such as cocaine and ecstasy, but are not currently controlled as class A, B or C drugs.

What’s the law?

From 26 May 2016, it will be illegal to sell or supply drugs known as so-called ‘legal highs’. This includes giving them away for free (even to friends) when they are going to be taken for their psychoactive effects.

Importing them from abroad will also be a crime.

The changes in the law mean you could face legal consequences for giving or selling any drugs to anyone.

Police will take action where they find people committing these offences. Punishments range from a prohibition notice, which is a formal warning, to seven years in prison.

What are the risks of so-called ‘legal highs’?

With any drugs, you never know what you are getting and they can be incredibly harmful. You can’t really be sure what’s in a ‘legal high’ that you’ve bought, or been given, or what effect it’s likely to have on you or your friends.

Psychoactive substances or so-called ‘legal highs’ can be highly addictive and have many associated risks, including negative consequences on your mental health. The chemical they contain have, in most cases, never been used before in drugs for human consumption. This means they haven’t been tested to show they are safe.

Other risks include:

  • You increase the risk to yourself if you combine alcohol with any legal or illegal drug.
  • Legal highs can reduce your inhibitions, so you do things you wouldn’t normally do. They can cause paranoia, coma, seizures and, in rare cases, death.
  • Because the chemical ingredients in a branded product can be changed without you knowing, the risks are unpredictable.
  • Even drugs that look similar or have similar names may be of varying strengths and have different effects.

Sharing drugs with your friends means you are putting them at risk and danger.

For more information about legal highs or to seek help, go to:
Talk to FRANK

www.talktofrank.com

0800 77 66 00

Addaction

www.addaction.org.uk

NHS

www.nhs.uk/Livewell/drugs/pages/legalhighs.aspx

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