'Legal high' drugs, how safe are they?
Publish Date: 08/10/2008
There is growing concern about the safety of 'legal highs'. Many people see them as a safe and legal alternative to drugs such as ecstasy. However, a recent study by researchers in London has cast doubt on their safety.
The researchers have found that many 'legal highs' are based on cathinone, a known stimulant and controlled substance. The researchers believe that they have found cathinone compounds in 'legal highs', but that they have been modified to get around the law.
The 'legal high' market is booming, the new breed of drugs are being sold for between £3 and £6, and are sold at festivals, over the internet, and at various 'head shops' that deal in drug paraphernalia. It is thought that over 3,500 doses of the 'legal' highs are shipped into the country each day.
Drug expert, John Ramsey, who analyses the contents of 'legal highs', said: "users think they are safe, and they're probably not". Side effects of the 'legal highs' can be rapid heart rate, raised blood pressure, high temperatures and seizures.
Most legal high pills are based on a group of drugs called piperazines, of which BZP is the most common. It is expected that under a new EU directive, those which contain piperazines will become controlled substances in the UK early next year.
For more information on the research in to the safety of 'legal highs', visit: