What do you mean by Legal highs ?
It is a term use for the large array of new drugs, often referred to as legal highs that have appeared in the past few years.
Well if they are legal what is the problem?
Well the only reason some are legal, by and large, is down to the fact the government has not got around to making all of them illegal, and just because they are called legal highs does not mean they aren’t dangerous.
Wait a minute; some of them are illegal and some are not?
That’s right. In the past few years Mephedrone has been classified as a Class B drug; GBL and BZP (or Benny) as a Class C drug, along with synthetic cannabinoids (artificial cannabis) such as Spice. Just because something was legal a few years ago, does not mean it is legal now and the situation is changing all the time.
So why are they considered dangerous?
Well you only have to look at the press to read stories about people having problems with legal highs, from ending up in accident and emergency units at the weekend to overdoses and death.
That’s true of all drugs through!
Of course it is, but there is another difficulty with legal highs that is not often mentioned in the press. Unlike most other drugs, including Heroin, Cocaine and Ecstasy, a very large number of the new drugs have never been tested on either animals or humans, and the truth is no one has the faintest idea of what the long term health risks might be.
Can you give me an example?
Well a little research came up with a whole range of drugs such as Atomic Bomb, Doves Ultra, Quick Silver, Beta Fury, Black Mamba, Blizzard, Ching, AMT, Green Beans, Synthacaine . . . . . the list goes on and on. All of these are manufactured in labs and sold as research chemicals. Unlike Valium for example, which was developed and tested by a pharmaceutical company and then licensed as being safe for Doctors to prescribe, that cannot be said of any of the above. Although they might make you feel good, nobody can say what the potential risks are.
You don’t know that there are risks with all of them!
Fair point but conversely you don’t know that there aren’t risks. Ketamine makes a good example of the dangers of taking a ‘new drug’.
I thought that was a ‘proper drug’ like Valium and had been tested?
It is a licensed drug and has been tested, but only for the purpose for which it was designed, which is essentially as an anaesthetic. It can be safely used for that purpose, because it is only used once or twice in a row. It never occurred to anyone that people might take it for fun on a regular basis, and therefore nobody new until very recently that regular and heavy use could lead to holes in the wall of the bladder that could not be repaired.
Perhaps some of them are safe though?
If you ever meet anyone who answer that question let me know, I’d be interested to find out. Personally I doubt it.
Well let’s use Mephedrone as an example. When it first appears it is legal, said to feel like a mixture of ecstasy or cocaine, depending on who you talk to, and rumoured to be perfectly safe. Ten years later evidence has linked it to several drug deaths, it has appeared in lot more autopsies even though it cannot be contributed as the sole cause of death, and there is no doubt that a substantial number of people have suffered addiction problems similar to those found with other stimulant users.
What can I do if I think I have a problem with legal highs or Club drugs?
Behind the Red Door are the contact details for the Club Drug Clinic in Earls Court. Give them a ring and have a chat. You don’t even need to give them your name!