Legal highs or new psychoactive substances are a growing worry for parents, with many young people trying these drugs in a bid to get high. The fact that these are labelled as ‘legal’ means that many youngsters are confused about how safe they are.

Up until last week, these substances could be bought legally online or in some stores and, although they are marked as ‘not fit for human consumption’ and sold as plant food, incense, or bath salts, many young people were ingesting them, with some suffering devastating consequences as a result.

Legal High Addiction

Jordan Hawthorne was one such youngster, whose life is now ruined because of an addiction to legal highs. He suffers constant headaches, damage to his kidneys and he has problems concentrating. He is also taking medication to prevent epileptic seizures.

Jordan began smoking cannabis and taking mephedrone during his teenage years but discovered legal highs at the age of twenty. He was told that, unlike cannabis, he would not be in trouble for possessing these drugs, and the fact that they were so readily available and cheap meant he was prepared to swap cannabis for legal highs almost immediately.

He admits that he liked the fact that the legal highs were strong, and he could not see the point in smoking weed instead. However, he was soon addicted and found that he needed more and more as his body became tolerant. He recalls his time on legal highs saying, “You can’t sleep at night, you get panic attacks, hypertension, you get angry, you get agitated, you think the world’s going to end, really irrational thoughts.”

Consequences

In July 2014, Jordan suffered a seizure but he was sent home from hospital soon after, having been told he was okay. He admitted to not being able to stop taking the legal highs despite the seizure because his addiction was so bad.

It got to the stage that he and his friend were stealing to fund their addiction, with Jordan eventually prosecuted for shoplifting. His friend wound up in prison. After ending up in hospital again, Jordan gave up the drugs for a couple of months but could not stay off them. He then began trying different types of legal high but, in February 2015, a choroidal cyst was discovered on his brain. He attempted to stop taking legal highs again but relapsed once more.

Depressed and bored after being sober for three months, Jordan decided to take cannabis, but the drug was just not strong enough anymore. He then went back to legal highs and took a version called Vertex. Nevertheless, after taking the drug, he woke up in hospital and could not remember anything.

He was told that despite the drug causing him to be unable to speak he carried on smoking it for five days. His girlfriend had to dress him and feed him, as he was incapable of doing it himself. When he began having seizures again, he was admitted to hospital and was kept in a medically induced coma for five days. His vital organs and brain were damaged as a result of taking the legal high.

He admits that he is struggling with memory functions and ability to concentrate but that he still has cravings for drugs.

Fear

Jordan knows that if he takes legal highs again, it could kill him, and so he has distanced himself from other drug users for fear that he will relapse. He believes that he was caught in a cycle of depression and boredom that led him to drugs and is hoping never to go back there again.

Help for Addiction

The Government’s proposed ban on legal highs is welcome news for any parent whose child is suffering from addiction problems to these substances. Nonetheless, there is help already available for those who suffer with all types of addiction. Addiction Helper is a free service working with addicts and putting them in touch with suitable treatment providers. If you or a loved one has an addiction, contact Addiction Helper today for free, independent advice and support.

Source: The Plymouth Herald

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