Author Topic: The rise of legal highs  (Read 7483 times)

Scallywag

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 157
The rise of legal highs
« on: May 16, 2014, 09:33:47 AM »
Hi all,
I don't know if anyone has seen the article in the guardian about the increase in legal highs in prison? This is gonna be a major issue in the future imo, especially with mental health.

Do people think this is a consequence of prohibition i.e different ways of beating the system etc..

Regards,

Scall

sapphire

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4,805
Re: The rise of legal highs
« Reply #1 on: May 16, 2014, 12:34:59 PM »
We have discussed this here before, and the general consensus was that people are playing with fire taking NSP's. (New Psychoactive Substances), as there is so little known about the long term effects.

Young people think that because you can buy these things legally in head shops, that they are safe to take, which is obviously not the case. More people are dying of legal highs each year, and I think starting to surpass traditional drugs.

IMO, what is going to happen will be the same as what happened in the 90's with all the rave culture drugs, people will turn from these legal highs to traditional drugs like cocaine and heroin, as they did from ecstasy in the 90's.

It's a ticking time bomb that is just creating a new generation of addicts.

I did see a documentary a while ago about kids taking them, and one of these kids had already progressed from taking them, to injecting them, then injecting ketamine, and then heroin. So I don't doubt that many of them will go down that route, and the others will probably end up with long term physical or mental health issues.

I'd be really interested to hear what other people think though?

Scallywag

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 157
Re: The rise of legal highs
« Reply #2 on: May 16, 2014, 02:24:13 PM »
Hi Sapphire..
One of the things that complicates the problem is their is little HR you can offer as they are classed as not for human consumption, so they can't put advice about dosage on the packet.
I had some training on these substances and it is quite scary to think people will use, say spice as they would weed.
The 'dose' is ridiculously higher, hence the impact on mental health being more acute.

sapphire

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4,805
Re: The rise of legal highs
« Reply #3 on: May 17, 2014, 02:07:54 PM »
That's a really good point about HR with these NPS's. I guess that because they are not made in proper sterile clinical laboratories, one gram weight of one packet could have a completely different strength of one gram weight from another packet. Quite scary stuff really, and I think it's going to lead to a whole host of problems, like MH issues, and addiction, be it to the NPS's themselves, or from users graduating to traditional drugs. I imagine that services are going to be seeing more and more people with issues surrounded legal highs, so you'd hope the people that commission drug services are making sure that all treatment staff are up to date on all the substances and what they do etc.

OP8S

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3,408
Re: The rise of legal highs
« Reply #4 on: May 17, 2014, 06:54:12 PM »
Do you think if the current legislation surrounding " traditional " substances such as cannabis, amphetamines, cocaine & heroin were given a much needed overhaul that people would take these new legal substances so readily ?

The medical profession have 100's of years worth of knowledge about the substances that the system prohibits the use of already ( though sometimes don't appear to ).

Personally I think if the drug laws were relaxed & people were allowed to grow their own weed or posses small amounts of class A substances for their own use then this new problem of so-called legal highs would certainly decrease in size. They would think twice about using a chemical which they have very little knowledge about & certainly hasn't been researched as much as opioids, stimulant's etc.

The people using them are basically the guinea pig's when it comes to legal highs.
" The problem with the world is that the fanatics are so sure of themselves while the wiser people acknowledge doubts "      Bertrand Russell

simon

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3,072
Re: The rise of legal highs
« Reply #5 on: May 17, 2014, 11:06:59 PM »
I've seen two cases of psychosis now that I'd link to these type of drugs. When dragged by a significant other some of these very angry people don't like being told that counselling is the only thing that will help. It seems my magic pill box is empty and people aren't happy about that.

OP8S

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3,408
Re: The rise of legal highs
« Reply #6 on: May 18, 2014, 01:23:50 PM »
Are you allowed to treat them for their psychosis or do the have to be assessed by a MH team ? It must be a bit of a grey area as you have no way of knowing what they have taken or how long the psychosis will last for. I suppose if they are going to be a danger to themselves or others then something has to be done.

People are making millions from these substances & the profit will all be perfectly legal I assume ?
If somebody get's nicked with a large bag of weed , cannabis etc. then it's straight to jail & all profits confiscated.

Crazy innit !
" The problem with the world is that the fanatics are so sure of themselves while the wiser people acknowledge doubts "      Bertrand Russell

sapphire

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4,805
Re: The rise of legal highs
« Reply #7 on: May 18, 2014, 02:43:01 PM »
I think that the ready availability of these things definitely means that more people are using them, so maybe if the laws around softer drugs were relaxed things would be different? It has got to be safer for people to smoke a bit of pot than to take these awful chemical things that do god knows what to you in the long term. At least the side effects of pot are well known!

In areas where the laws have meant that there is very little cannabis about, it was found that kids rapidly graduated onto the harder drugs, as that was all they had available to them.

If you've ever seen anyone on Mcat for example (which I know is illegal now), you can see that over use could very easily lead to psychosis.

simon

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3,072
Re: The rise of legal highs
« Reply #8 on: May 18, 2014, 08:25:31 PM »
Are you allowed to treat them for their psychosis or do the have to be assessed by a MH team ? It must be a bit of a grey area as you have no way of knowing what they have taken or how long the psychosis will last for. I suppose if they are going to be a danger to themselves or others then something has to be done.

People are making millions from these substances & the profit will all be perfectly legal I assume ?
If somebody get's nicked with a large bag of weed , cannabis etc. then it's straight to jail & all profits confiscated.

Crazy innit !
I believe some have been on our acute wards, none of my patients though. The Police have been the most help with these people popping in at weekends despite it not being their job.

OP8S

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3,408
Re: The rise of legal highs
« Reply #9 on: May 19, 2014, 11:33:59 AM »
Your right there Sapph, tighter controls by the police at previously well used supply routes into the area as well as some of the larger companies doing random drug tests daily has definetly contributed to the use of these chemicals. A friend of mine was persuaded to try a substance that he thought was a kind of pot substitute by a lad who works for a big oil company. He said it looked like a bit of ordinary black hash, took a hit of the pipe & described it as something similar to a 20 minute amyl-nitrate hit. He was absolutely furious when he returned back to earth & threw the lad out his house for comparing it to pot.

I'm pretty sure if people were allowed to grow their own personal supply without the fear of being locked up then the use of these chemicals wouldn't be so common.
" The problem with the world is that the fanatics are so sure of themselves while the wiser people acknowledge doubts "      Bertrand Russell

Scallywag

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 157
Re: The rise of legal highs
« Reply #10 on: May 19, 2014, 11:38:41 AM »
Do you think if the current legislation surrounding " traditional " substances such as cannabis, amphetamines, cocaine & heroin were given a much needed overhaul that people would take these new legal substances so readily ?

The medical profession have 100's of years worth of knowledge about the substances that the system prohibits the use of already ( though sometimes don't appear to ).

Personally I think if the drug laws were relaxed & people were allowed to grow their own weed or posses small amounts of class A substances for their own use then this new problem of so-called legal highs would certainly decrease in size. They would think twice about using a chemical which they have very little knowledge about & certainly hasn't been researched as much as opioids, stimulant's etc.
The people using them are basically the guinea pig's when it comes to legal highs.



I think you've hit the proverbial nail on the head. These substances have been created to open up a new market, which offers two things. One is a new experience and the other is how to bypass the laws on the traditional drugs.
The drug laws are bordering on embarrassing, because we all know people do it, celebrities openly discuss it and yet we continue to believe that the 'war' is winnable, when it clearly isn't.

The 'legal highs' are potentially more damaging than any other drug use because we in the UK binge on the whole and these chemical are potent in very small doses and unless people know about how much to use etc etc.. good old HR advice, the consequences could be huge.


sapphire

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4,805
Re: The rise of legal highs
« Reply #11 on: May 19, 2014, 12:07:53 PM »
It is worrying, and potentially a ticking time bomb for the generation that are heavily using these legal highs. We don't know the long term physical side effects, (which who knows, could be something akin to the damage that ketamine does to the bladder and urinary tract), not to mention the psychological side effects.

Politicians should be realising this, and starting to look at our drug laws, which not fit for purpose at present.

A good majority of crime is drug related in one way or other, so it could also be a chance to significantly cut crime figures.

jonleeds

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 21
Re: The rise of legal highs
« Reply #12 on: June 04, 2014, 03:25:55 AM »
These legal highs are disgusting in numerous ways, for starters its a complete lottery as to what you're going to get and what the results might be. Plus its making drug taking seem like a legally / socially acceptable form of recreation. Not to mention that fact that peddling this crap must be some sort of fraud / deception.

In my experience a great deal of these things do nothing. The deaths that have been caused by these concotions just prove they are more dangerous than traditional street drugs. Personally I'd never touch any of this stuff, I'd feel embarrassed even thinking about buying any of it. But the fact that companies marketing and selling this stuff are making untold milions just goes to show that young people today are desperate for drug induced intoxication.

 Ironically they are being duped into believing these legal highs are in some way safer than your usual recreational drugs when infact they arent. The whole lot wants to be outlawed, never mind how they might reconfigure the cocktail of chemicals to circumvent the latest drug classifications. Basically anything marketed as a legal high or sold as something to be taken as a mind altering substance should be banned and anyone marketing this stuff should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

 Sadly the criminalisation of all other drugs is whats driving young naive people towards this poisonous filth. I know if I had kids, although I wouldnt condone it, I'd much rather they dabbled in 'traditional' street drugs rather than think they were being 'safe' by using some garbage legal high they'd bought from a head shop or website.

What a mess this country's policy on drugs is! Decades of police work / drug work / education on the dangers of drugs etc yet it seems that peoples appetite for drugs of all kinds is just as great as it ever was. Its about time that some radical new steps were taken to decriminalise all drugs and increase the safety / regulation of the whole industry. Clearly people will take drugs whatever the law says so why this isnt being addressed properly beggars belief.

simon

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3,072
Re: The rise of legal highs
« Reply #13 on: June 04, 2014, 10:49:39 AM »
I do wonder what would have happened if the govt had not intervened, would they have just continued at low level use?

sapphire

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4,805
Re: The rise of legal highs
« Reply #14 on: June 04, 2014, 01:56:53 PM »
I do wonder what would have happened if the govt had not intervened, would they have just continued at low level use?

With legal highs? The problem seems to be that as soon as they make one chemical arrangement illegal (which takes years to do) the chemists simply tweak the molecules so they can have basically the same drug, but different enough to get round the law.