Legal highs are nothing more than illegal drugs disguised as legitimate products. A legal high is a product that contains one or multiple chemicals. The chemicals that are added to these products are made to mimic the effects of real illicit substances.
Some of these products mimic the high of ecstasy while others mimic the effects of cannabis or cocaine. The substances added to these products are a major problem because they aren’t regulated.
Another issue is the lack of research on the products, so the adverse effects and potency of the substances aren’t known. Currently, researchers are trying to gather information about these drugs and understand their adverse effects, but right now, there is very little research to go on.
Not for Human Consumption
The only reason why legal highs are able to be sold is because they take advantage of a loophole in the law. The products are labeled as unsafe for human consumption, but people buy them because they know that the products are really drugs and meant to be consumed.
To circumvent the law, legal highs are frequently sold as plant food, bath salts or incense. Although many of the products have a list of ingredients, there is really no way to know what is really inside of them.
When a substance is sold as a legal product, it doesn’t mean it’s really legal or safe. Mary Jane, Bliss and Clockwork Orange are some common names that these products are sold under, and they’ve been linked to thousands of ER admissions and poisonings.
In a number of cases, legal highs have caused death. The three main categories that all illicit substances fall into, including legal highs, are hallucinogens or psychedelics, sedatives or downers and stimulants.
What They Do
During 2012, 68 individuals in the United Kingdom died after consuming legal highs. These products are sold as incense or salts, and they can mimic the effects of marijuana, meth and other illicit substances.
Some of the first substances found in legal highs have finally been banned. The two most well-known chemicals are naphyrone and mephedrone, which are known to make users feel energized, chatty and euphoric.
Are There Risks?
Although the full adverse effects of these drugs are not known, they’ve been known to cause coma, seizures, paranoia or death. When combined with other types of drugs or alcohol, the effects of legal highs can be even more dangerous.
Some studies have linked legal highs to as many as 97 deaths. Hospital admissions for these products soared by 56 percent from 2009 to 2012. If the current trend continues, experts believe legal highs will cause as many as 400 deaths per year, which is higher than the current death rate for heroin.
Anyone who has developed an addiction to legal highs should consider seeking inpatient treatment. It’s a form of treatment that offers a higher success rate than many other addiction treatments, and some of the benefits are supervision, focus on self, no negative influences and nutritious meals.
Marilyn Kegley works with Choices to educate individuals about the effects, dangers and treatment of abuse problems to substances such as cocaine, heroin, alcohol, painkillers, and many others. After watching numerous loved ones struggle with substance abuse, her goal is to help as many people as possible win their battles with addiction. http://crehab.org/blog/addiction/when-recreational-drinking-and-drug-use-turns-to-dependence/