Legal highs are a growing problem in the United Kingdom as more and more young people are risking their lives to take what many assume to be safe substances. However, the fact that these substances are labelled as ‘legal’ does not mean they are safe to take.

By law, these substances cannot be sold for human consumption but manufacturers get around this by labelling them as plant foods, salts, or even incense. Nonetheless, many young people are taking these substances because they are cheap and readily available. Many do not realise that they are putting themselves in danger every time they take them.

Police are working hard to crack down on legal highs, but it is difficult as these can be legally sold in high street stores and online.

Raids

Nevertheless, in Manchester, police have raided a number of shops, seizing a large quantity of powder and pills, which will be sent for forensic testing. Police sources are saying that many of these substances are putting young children in danger. Some legal highs are available for just £8, which makes them attractive to youngsters who are then becoming vulnerable to addiction and sexual exploitation.

Previous raids of similar properties found that substances being sold as ‘legal’ highs actually contained illegal substances such as ethylphenidate and methylphenidate.

According to Greater Manchester Police sergeant Adam Cronshaw, young children in the area are vulnerable to addictive behaviour and child sexual exploitation when taking these substances. He said that the aim of the police is to ensure that the substances being sold do not contain illegal ingredients. He said, “A recent report revealed that, since 2009, the number of deaths attributed to these ‘legal highs’ has increased by 800 per cent, which shows the very real dangers anyone faces when taking these substances.”

Despite the fact that illegal highs are only available to those over the age of eighteen, it is clear that younger children are getting their hands on them; because they are cheap, they are highly sought after.

Danger

The biggest problem with legal highs is the fact that users just do not know what they are taking. Manufacturers will often replace one ingredient with another if a particular ingredient is banned, but they will still package and sell the product in the same way as before. This means that a substance that may not have had any side effects the first time could affect a person badly the next time.

Doctors are also finding it increasingly difficult to treat those who do react to these legal highs because they have no way of knowing what ingredients the substance contained.

Education

It is clear that more needs to be done to educate youngsters about the dangers of legal highs. Many believe that because they are classed as legal, they will not cause any harm.

Sergeant Cronshaw says that a new legal high information booklet, aimed at fourteen to nineteen-year-olds, has been produced and will be rolled out to schools and colleges very soon. The booklet contains information about the dangers of legal highs and what these substances are. Police are hoping that this will help to raise awareness and prevent more youngsters from taking the drugs.

Help for Addiction

Legal highs can be highly addictive, and many youngsters are struggling with these issues. If you or a loved one has a legal high addiction, Addiction Helper is here to help. We are a free referral service and can provide you with information on the various treatments available. We provide free advice and support to those suffering from addiction. Call us today for help and advice.

Source: Manchester Evening News

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