Parents Calling for a Ban on Legal Highs

The parents of a Belfast teenager who was found lying on grass in a housing estate have called for legal highs to be banned. Adam Owens had been to a house party in the hours before he was found; he died a short time after arriving in hospital.

Legal Highs

Adam’s parents are convinced that legal highs are to blame for the death of their son, but a post-mortem has yet to be carried out. They said that Adam had had an addiction to the substances for three years, something that they had been trying to tackle. Adam’s step-mum, Dawn, believes he was at a house party with friends, and they were all taking legal highs. She said that all the young people in the area take them, and they are suffering as a result.

She said, “You can get these things online, on the streets – all legally. You can get them anywhere, and they are cheap. It’s a huge problem all around here.”

She also said that many of the youngsters in the area are addicted to these readily available drugs. She says that they tried to get help for Adam but because he was under the age of eighteen, nobody would help. She admits that they do not know if Adam overdosed, but they do know he was taking legal highs on the night he died.


Dawn is so angry that the Government allows legal highs to be sold to kids, and she says that they have been told that some types of legal high are worse than heroin. An investigation has been opened into the circumstances of Adam’s death.

In 2013, Serotoni, a type of legal high, was responsible for the death of twenty people in Northern Ireland and was banned in November 2014 after a coroner compared it to ‘a serial killer on the loose’. Serotoni was responsible for 37 deaths in total across the UK.

In March 2015, two teenage girls ended up in hospital after smoking a different legal high, Salvia. PSNI Inspector Colin Patterson said at the time that the term ‘legal high’ was a contradiction. He said, “The substances are presented as being legal, but they may contain substances that are harmful to human health.”

He was keen to point out that, regardless of the fact that these substances are legal, they are not fit for human consumption and can alter the mind, which brings its own set of risks. He warned that it is never possible to tell exactly what ingredients are in a substance and what the side effects may be. He also warned that these substances could cause long-term damage.

Legal High Use

Young people today are turning to legal highs because they wrongly believe them to be safe. The fact that they are labelled as legal gives the entirely wrong impression. Many believe that they must be safe to take because they are legal.

However, the problem is that these substances are harmful because of the ingredients that they contain. Another problem is that each time a batch is made it may contain different ingredients in a bid to get around laws. This means that the substance can be different every time. Nobody knows how he or she is going to react to these substances.

Help for Addiction

Some experts have branded legal highs as highly addictive, and many young people are developing dependencies on these substances. If you suspect that someone you love is suffering from an addiction to legal highs, Addiction Helper’s expert advisors can provide you with information on how to tackle your situation. We will give you the advice and support you need to help your loved one beat his or her addiction. Call us today for free, confidential advice.

Source: Belfast Live

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