Heartbroken Parents of Man Who Died of Legal Highs

The parents of a man who died after taking legal highs have called for these substances to be banned, likening the sale of them to ‘legalising murder’. Their son, David Lewis, injected legal high ‘Burst’ and spent seven weeks in hospital fighting a deadly infection before finally succumbing to it. Burst has also been linked to a number of other deaths.

Changing Ingredients

Agnes and Jack Lewis said that they spoke to doctors who told them that legal high ingredients are constantly changing as the manufacturers try to avoid legal restrictions. This means that users can be taking different ingredients in the same product every time. It makes it harder for doctors to treat those affected.

Bath Salts

Burst is sold openly in high street stores as bath salts, with half a gram currently costing around £10. Those who use it say it is like taking ecstasy and heroin together. Agnes says that they knew David was taking some type of substance because when he visited them he would be hyper. However, they did not know what he was taking.

David had battled a heroin addiction during his late twenties and was taking a substitute drug, subutex. Just before Christmas 2014, he told his mother he was suffering with chest pains but that doctors could not find anything wrong. He was also suffering headaches. When his mother found him going blue on December 19th, he was admitted to hospital where it was found that he had septicaemia. This was caused by injecting Burst. David also had blood clots in the brain and the infection soon spread to his spine and heart. He underwent several surgeries during his seven weeks in hospital, but died on February 10th.

Devastation for Those Left Behind

David’s family now have to struggle with the loss his death has caused. His heartbroken parents and siblings have condemned the sale of legal highs and they say it should be banned. David also left behind four children who will now have to live without a father.

David’s father Jack said, “The people selling this poison don’t care. They just want to make money out of other’s misery.”

Common Misconceptions

Agnes said that she is sure David thought that Burst was okay because it could be bought in a shop. She said he would have thought it was not like heroin. This is a common misconception that many people have. They assume that because these substances are called ‘legal’ highs, they must be okay to take.

However, NHS Lothian’s deputy director of public health Jim Sherval said that it is especially risky to inject legal highs because of the increased risk of infection. He said, “I would urge anyone who develops significant redness of the skin anywhere on the body, but particularly at injection sites, to seek medical attention.”

Highly Addictive

A recent report has found that legal highs can be much stronger than many illegal drugs available, and are becoming highly addictive. The fact that the ingredients are constantly changing is also a major cause for concern because a user may be okay with a particular version one time but could have a reaction the next time due to new ingredients. Nobody can be sure what he or she is actually taking with these substances.


Addiction to legal highs is becoming more common today and, like other addictions, it can be treated. Addiction Helper is a referral service working with addicted people all over the UK. We provide help and support to those suffering with all types of addiction and work to put them in touch with a suitable provider for their needs. If you need help with any type of addiction, call our team of expert advisors today.

Source: The Daily Record

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