Legal highs (En)
Legal highs can carry serious health risks. The chemicals they contain have in most cases never been used in drugs for human consumption before, so haven’t been tested to show that they are safe. Users can never be certain what they are taking and what the effects might be.
- You increase the risk to yourself if you combine alcohol with any legal or illegal substance that causes a high, including the risk of death.
- Reduced inhibitions, drowsiness, excited or paranoid states, coma, seizures and death.
- Because legal highs are often new and, in many cases, the actual chemical ingredients in a branded product can be changed without you knowing, the risks are unpredictable.
- It is likely that a drug sold as a ‘legal high’ may contain one or more substances that are actually illegal to possess.
When to seek medical help
Most problems with short-term use of legal highs will settle after you stop taking them. However, the negative effects of some legal highs can take a few days to wear off completely, just like the comedown from stimulants such as cocaine and amphetamines.
If you think you are having a serious negative reaction soon after taking a legal high or you experience problems that do not settle with a little time out, fluids and fresh air, get medical help straight away by going to the accident and emergency (A&E) department of your nearest hospital.
If you are worried about continuing health problems after you’ve stopped taking the drugs, visit your GP.
Legal highs and the law
Many drugs that were previously sold as legal highs are now controlled under the Misuse of Drugs Act, including mephedrone (meow meow), naphyrone, BZP, GBL and synthetic cannabinoids (such as those found in Spice products). This means that they are illegal to possess or to supply to others.