Last night Channel 4 aired a documentary examining the impact of ‘Legal High’s’ in the UK. For more information and to watch the programme, see below.
The programme follows the methods being used to curb drug laws in the UK and the effect of ‘research chemicals’ or legal high’s (that are not subject to the same laws classified drugs are) have on people. Pharmaceutical companies are creating these research chemicals, labelled with ‘not for human consumption’, and selling them legally on the market to be used as substitutes or replacement for illegal drugs.
The substances are mass produced in nations like India and China, ready made to be shipped around the world, creating new brands and names quicker than governments can move to ban them. By constantly evolving, the producing companies are able to create these substances at high rates and sell them cheaply and legally to willing global consumers.
As shown in the documentary, young people in England are only too ready to experiment with the drugs and some young people, such as Baxter (the protagonist in the programme) even has managed to make a business of selling these drugs to friends, with no legal consequences or dangers to be considered.
Legal Highs can mimic the effects of Cannabis, Cocaine and even Heroin. But the health risks of taking these substances, as they are so new and constantly developing, are completely unknown. The detrimental effects of using these legally purchased items on people’s well-being will not be fully known for quite some time.
Delivery and postal services have reported an increase in the amount of legal highs being posted and delivered in the UK. With the spike in interest and demand in the UK how do the companies manufacturing these chemicals manage to produce and sell such vast quantities without the government being able to do anything about it?
The compounds change so frequently and with the sheer volume available on the market, and in some instances over the counter, that authorities are unable to carry out research and determine a classification on the vast majority of these research chemicals. This creates a real hazard for the consumer and exploits a loop-hole in the drug industry that is allowing thousands of unregulated, tested and researched substances to be smoked, snorted and injected without knowing the effects or long-term impact.
The government have warned just because they are called legal highs does not mean that they are government-endorsed or in any way harmless. These substances are a public health risk and people should exercise extreme caution.