Government 'to ban legal highs'

By pasties · Jun 9, 2009 · Updated Jun 10, 2009 · ·
  1. pasties
    A range of 'herbal highs' could be banned by the summer under a fast track scheme to cut the number of powerful but legal drugs on sale in the UK.

    The government's drug advisers are warning that many are freely available powders laced with chemicals closely linked to illegal drugs.

    They're available over the internet, at festivals and in specialist shops.

    A list of banned chemicals could be drawn up as early as July with a ban coming into force soon afterwards.

    "We are worried about it," said Professor Les Iversen from Oxford University, who sits on the Advisory Council for the Misuse of Drugs.

    "There is a considerable risk of adverse effects and particularly overdosing.

    "We are actively looking at the problem now to see what can be done."

    'Bewildering variety'

    Hundreds of internet sites and head shops around the UK now sell a bewildering variety of legal highs.

    Most are little more than vitamin pills laced with high levels of caffeine or herbs containing the chemical ephedrine.

    I was on the way home from a friend's house and suddenly everything was so intense. It wasn't good at all
    'Sarah', 17, had a bad experience with a legal high

    But a new generation of legal highs started to emerge a couple of years ago, many with effects more closely associated with stronger drugs like cannabis, ecstasy and cocaine.

    For a while, some contained the amphetamine-like drug BZP, an artificial chemical originally used as worming tablet for cows.

    But the government recently said it would classify BZP as an illegal, class C substance along with the industrial solvent GBL after two accidental deaths connected to the drugs.

    Then, six months ago scientists in Germany found the legal 'Chinese herbal powder' called Spice they were testing was not herbal at all but laced with a chemical linked to the active ingredient in cannabis.

    More than 150 'cannabinoid' chemicals were discovered back in the 1970s by drug companies hoping to sell products with some of the same effects as cannabis.

    That work was eventually scrapped. But the scientific research is now being used by some makers of legal highs to sidestep the law, according to drug advisors.

    "This is an entirely new situation. We only found out what Spice really was late last year," said Professor Iversen.

    "From what we know now about the components in it, we see no reason why it should be any different from cannabis with the added hazard of not knowing what dose you are taking."

    Drug researchers think the active ingredient in Spice could be ten times stronger than the THC in standard cannabis, although users may take less of it as a result.

    'Head rush'

    Seventeen-year-old 'Sarah', not her real name, smoked Spice with her friends when cannabis wasn't available.

    "We thought it was much safer and we weren't going to get paranoid but it had the same effects," she said.

    "It's definitely stronger. It was more trippy than the weed on the street.

    "It was borderlining on magic mushrooms which I didn't like personally.

    "I was on the way home from a friend's house and suddenly everything was so intense. I got home and had to get my mum to look after me. It wasn't good at all."

    Sarah says she never had a problem buying it even though she was under 18.

    "There should be more information about it out there. I think they should just ban these shops because they are not really helping anybody."

    Banning orders

    Spice and similar products like it officially sell as 'herbal incense' that is not for human consumption.
    The manufacturers did not return Newsbeat's request for an interview.

    Newsbeat also contacted dozens of internet and high street suppliers stocking the product.

    Most refused to talk to us publically but claimed off the record that Spice is weaker than cannabis and users will just stop taking the drug when they've had enough, making an overdose unlikely.

    The active ingredient in standard Spice has already been banned in France, Germany and Austria.

    But with hundreds of other similar chemicals out there, it is easy for the makers to switch to a legal alternative and continue producing a substance with the same effect.

    It is likely the government will try to ban a wide variety of the 'cannabis-like' chemicals at the same time this summer in an attempt to stop the use of drugs like Spice.

    But sceptics reckon the authorities will find it increasingly hard to catch up with the companies behind legal, synthetic versions of banned drug.

    By Jim Reed
    BBC Newsbeat reporter

    Tuesday, 9 June 2009 07:32 UK

    Original URL:

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  1. Lysergicaciddiethylamide
    Fuck....soon they gonna ban breathing......:mad:

    I just wonder.......with such ridicolous come they havent banned alcohol?:s:mad:
  2. Alfa
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  3. darkglobe
    Uh oh, time to stock up.... shit!
  4. Venusia
    This is quite sad to read. Swivy just doesn't understand why adults aren't allowed to make their own decisions about what they can put inside their own bodies. Why must the gov't come in and try to save us from ourselves rather than let us learn on our own? These are legal products. These products are not harmful. One could theoretically buy the different herbs separately and make their own smoking blend, so why must the gov't spend our tax money to make sure we're "safe" from nearly harmless substances? It seems as though we are just getting further and futher along into becoming a full fledged nanny-state, telling us "no no" about the things we choose to eat, drink and ingest otherwise.This makes swivy so very sad and a little scared to boot.
  5. Nature Boy
    This 17 year-old 'Sarah' sounds like a right stupid little tart. First she buys synthetic cannabinoid because regular cannabis makes her paranoid and then she suggests banning headshops because she had a bad experience down to her own bad judgement and irrationality. Perhaps every young male in England should be castrated because the occasional slapper gets knocked up at the junior disco. Reads like the same logic to me.
  6. Euthanatos93420
    And we were paranoid they're watching us. HA!
  7. Alfa
    Iversen refers to the discovery of JWH-018 in spice, by THC-Pharma last December.
  8. darkglobe
    As nature boy said above, maybe this should be the beginning of a draconian regime of zero tolerance because of isolated incidents.... driver runs over a cat, let's ban cars!!

    "Moggy, 8, says 'I was only walking along the road and this big, dangerous hunk of moving metal made me a feature of the local tarmac, I think the government is right to ban cars'"
  9. honourableone
    It's incredibly frustrating how they ban chemicals based on the fact that they are used recreationally, as opposed to using any scientific research into how dangerous those chemicals really are.

    This industry is incredibly resilient, and I have no doubt that there will be replacements, but we are slowly approaching a time when much stricter regulations will in place that will effectively end the days of any decent products being available in headshops.

    Something I can see happening is new trends in the illegal drug scene. It wouldn't take much for a trend in synthetic cannabinoids being sold on the street to begin, and as a result there would be casualties. If this happened, politicians wouldn't show the logical "Oh, what was I thinking when I banned this drug" response, they would instead be comforted that they were proven right about the dangers that they claimed were there.

    honourableone added 1 Minutes and 25 Seconds later...

    Nope, that logic only works for drugs, what with them being evil community-destroyers and everything.

  10. darkglobe

    Chemicals such as BZP and MBZP are potentially harmful, let's face it they have never been actually tested for the purpose they are sold for when being sold as legal highs.

    A good example of the industry's resilience is the BZP ban in New Zealand, soon after companies began using MBZP! Simple as that, bish bash bosh, job done.

    SWIM hopes that Salvia Divinorum, Kratom and any other ethnos won't come under this ban.
  11. pasties
    There will be replacements for these chemicals - they may well be better, stronger, longer lasting, whatever. But the months of accumulated community data concerning safe dosages / perceived risks of the existing set of currently legal highs will be reset each time a drug is established enough to draw attention to itself.

    Harm reduction anybody? :confused:
  12. darkglobe
    That's interesting, actually. One would agree that as replacement chemicals pop up, the whole guinea pig stage must happen once more!
  13. Venusia
    One can hold out a small hope that maybe cannabis will be legalized before we see this day, no? Swiv would rather see us making money from the taxation of cannabis rather than spending money we don't really have on banning more and more herbs and chemicals that are just meant to replicate cannabis.
  14. Euthanatos93420
    It is the same logic so shut up! Don't give Big Bro any ideas.
  15. Routemaster Flash
    "Beginning"? It's been going on for ages as it is...
  16. Euthanatos93420
    Stupid cunt. What the fuck are we? Chopped liver?
  17. Greenport
    And whose fault is it that people resort to legal highs anyways?

    All of these research chemicals, synthetic cannaboids, piperazines, misc vitamins and herbs, kids taking massive amounts of caffeine for the recreational value...datura, excessive underage drinking, underage tobacco use, drinking bottles of cough syrup to trip...what does it all come down to?

    It ALL comes back to the fact that the safer drugs, the ones that actually have some kind of positive value in this world, are highly illegal!

    It's ass-backwards.

    I'm tired of this, we need to put this in the hands of the people and not in the hands of the various governments. We are never going to get rid of the desire to alter our state of mind no matter what! And the more they try, the more deaths are going to be caused either by the violence caused by smuggling the illegal drugs into the country or by the deaths and health consequences that the legal drugs themselves are causing.

    If those drugs are illegal too, it's going to mean more violence, more homocides (that's DEATHS), more depression, more crime and more problems worldwide.

    They are declaring a war on people who want to be at peace with the world!
  18. dragonxninjaxpowa
    some legal highs like kratom,kanna,blue lotus are pretty safe unless you OD on them.

    unlike say mephedrone which has unknown long term side effects and some reported nasty side effects and reactions.

    however manufacturers who do not list the ingredients or lie about whats in their products is risky and they should list them or be prosecuted imo.
    as if someone has an allergic/bad reaction to one or a few of the hidden ingredients, and they need to go to hospital, what can they tell the hospital?

    legal high pills nowadays are as risky as street E's, unless theres a load of reports on the particular one/s and/or the user uses a testing kit.

    SWIM think most natural illegals( such as weed/skunk/hash, shrooms, acid) are safer than legals.
  19. Routemaster Flash
    Uh, the same could be said of heroin, no?

    This is a good point - mfrs of "legal highs" are doing no-one any favours by omitting ingredients lists from their pills and potions. However stuff like mephedrone is available loose by the gram from suppliers of "research chemicals", rather than "legal highs", so in that case (assuming their batch isn't contaminated or anything) you're pretty much guaranteed 99% purity of the specific compound you've ordered. Much better than splashing your money on HyperSexBlast 2.0 or whatever...

    Mmm, lovely natural LSD... ;)
  20. Valseedian

    THE TRUTH!! for crying out loud..

    that they purposedly ingested a product specifically labeled in LARGE LETTERS 'not for human consumption'... and then wonder why they had an adverse reaction.

    if you aren't responcible enough to own up to your actions... if its too embarassing to share with a doctor that you use recreational drugs... you don't deserve their graces...

    and it's people like that who ruin it for all of us who can..

    if YOU are dumb enough to overdose on these products it's your own damn fault. I mean, when was the last time swiy had their marijuana inspected for quality? last time you KNEW the THC%? the CBD%? heavy metals used in the soil when growing? what kind of weird fertilizers do you think they can pass off on weed? and still, a million people use it every day without any regard to these issues...

    and if you think that synthetic cannabinoids can only be found on the 'spices', think again. Jwh's, CP's, HU-210 are among a list of 100's of cannabinoid receptor agonists, and these products are being included IN WEED!.. chances are you've tried these chemicals in small quantities without knowing it if swiy smokes bud..

    and the idea that you can 'ban' something that's 'legal' is somewhat of a flawed arguement in and of itself:

    how exactly do you plan on making a law to 'catchall' legal highs? how do you think that will effect pharmasuetical law? how does that allow for human physiology and brain chemistry... after all, it'd be difficult to follow up on a law against endogenous chemicals...?

    how exactly do you define 'high'?... is there a diference between physical and mental highs? how can we determine the difference between somehone who is high and someone who is just too happy? how exactly can you allow cigarettes and alchohol to be legal? where exactly does the line get crosed? when does the buck stop?

    WHY!!! Why does the world constantly seek to criminalize us!... Look, you don't like marijuana... and as arbitrary as that rule is WE TRIED TO FOLLOW IT!!!... we worked damn hard to find a way to be 'legitimate' in the eyes of the law (even if onlyt to avoid legal issues...)

    trust me politicians: it won't be long before you see the rise against the disparity and injustice of our legal system. every day we gain more ground.. every day we recruit more and more of the educated masses. it's time to discuss this rationally and come up with a solution everyone can live with.. something that doesn't DISCRIMINATE PREJUDICIALLY.
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