Addiction to Legal Highs

A woman whose life had been destroyed by drugs was spared jail by the judge who heard her tragic story. Mikaila Tyhurst now looks much older than her twenty-eight years after her face was ravaged by her addiction to GBL, the former legal high.

Her liver was severely damaged also because of her addiction and she has been on life support fifteen times. She also told of how a string of men had treated her like a rag doll. The addiction also caused her appearance to change dramatically. Her former blonde hair turned a shade of brown and her eyes became puffy. She was left with blotchy skin and spots, as well.

During a drug-fuelled session, she fell and lost her front teeth and her eighteen-month-old baby was taken into care. This was the catalyst for her seeking help for the addiction.

Suspended Sentence

During a court case last week, Tyhurst pled guilty to assaulting a man and leaving him with serious injuries. Despite the fact that this crime was punishable with a prison sentence, Judge Andrew Woolman spared her and gave her a suspended sentence instead. He said, ”I have read the pre-sentence report but the bold print does not reveal the full horror of your own life. Your adult life can only be described by sustained abuse at the hands of men. You had an appalling time and it led you to drug abuse. These facts allow me to take an exceptional course for what you have done.”

Legal High

Tyhurst was addicted to GBL, which was once a legal high comprised of nail varnish removers, paint strippers, and superglue solvents. This drug was made illegal in 2009. The problem with these so-called legal highs is that they can be very addictive, yet people still think they are not harmful because of their so-called legality. The reason these are called legal highs is that they have not yet been added to the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. This does not mean that they are not harmful though. Calling them ‘legal’ highs gives the wrong impression and leads to many individuals becoming addicted. Legal highs are similar to other drugs such as ecstasy, cocaine, and cannabis in that they contain chemical substances that affect the brains pleasure receptors.

Side Effects of Legal Highs

The problem with legal highs is that there is no way to know what is in each particular variation. Many individuals are poisoned after taking certain legal highs and will require hospital admission. Sometimes the legal high will affect their mental state, requiring an admission to a mental health ward. In some instances, those who have ingested certain legal highs will die as a result.

What You May Not Know About Legal Highs

Legal highs are not sold as ‘drugs’ for human consumption, as to do so is illegal. Therefore, they are often sold as plant food or bath salts. It may be legal to sell it as a plant food but it is not legal to sell it for recreational use. If the legal high contains a banned substance then it is an offence to possess it or to supply it to another person, including giving it to someone you know.

Just because you have taken a certain legal high before and have not suffered a reaction does not mean that the same legal high will be safe to take again. The same ‘brand’ may contain different ingredients each time and, what was ‘safe’ once, may not be safe again.

It is illegal to drive a vehicle while under the influence of a legal high. Legal highs affect your perceptions and reactions meaning you would be unfit to drive. Driving while under the influence of a legal high is dangerous and puts lives at risk. Penalties such as fines, points on a licence, and even prison can all apply to those who drive after using a legal high.


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