'Legal highs' set to be banned

By old hippie 56 · Aug 25, 2009 · ·
  1. old hippie 56

    'Legal highs' set to be banned

    BZP is often sold as an alternative to Ecstasy

    Two so-called "party" drugs and a man-made cannabis substitute will be banned by the end of the year, the Home Office has announced.

    At the moment, these "legal highs" are sold openly across the UK and on the internet, but ministers say they are an "emerging threat".

    The two drugs, known as BZP and GBL, have been linked to a number of deaths.

    Charity DrugScope said law alone was "a blunt instrument" and greater education was needed about the drugs' effects.

    To that end, the Home Office said it would begin an awareness campaign in university freshers' weeks in September to highlight the dangers.

    'Liquid ecstasy'

    BZP, also known as herbal ecstasy, was linked by a coroner in Sheffield to the death of 22-year-old mortgage broker Daniel Backhouse earlier this year.

    It is understood that Mr Backhouse had also taken ecstasy.

    Hester Stewart, who was 21 and a medical student, died after taking GBL in Brighton. Her parents have campaigned for the substance, known as liquid ecstasy, to be banned.

    Both drugs would be classified as Class C, putting them in the same category as amphetamine.

    The cannabis substitute - often sold under the name Spice, for about £20 - is made from synthetic chemicals known as cannabinoids which mimic the effects of marijuana. It would be controlled as a Class B drug, alongside cannabis.

    The Home Secretary Alan Johnson said he was acting on advice from the government's Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs:

    He said: "Legal highs are an emerging threat, particularly to young people, and we have a duty to educate them about the dangers.

    "There is a perception that many of the so-called legal highs are harmless, however in some cases people can be ingesting dangerous industrial fluids or smoking chemicals that can be even more harmful than cannabis."

    BZP and GBL would carry a prison term of up to two years for possession and 14 years for dealing.

    GBL is taken as a substitute for the "date rape" drug GHB, which is already outlawed.

    The Home Office says the GBL, originally a worming treatment for cattle, can cause serious heart problems, vomiting, anxiety attacks, mood swings and seizures. BZP has been linked to similar conditions.

    'Lumped together'

    Martin Barnes, chief executive of DrugScope, said: "While we support the classification of substances such as GBL and BZP, the law alone is a blunt instrument.

    Sussex University student Hester Stewart died after taking GBL

    "We have concerns that in lumping all these substances together as 'legal highs', the significant differences in the effects and potential harms might be hard for young people to identify.

    "It is important that public information and education campaigns are comprehensive and ongoing."

    Mr Barnes also said that while cannabis-substitute Spice should be controlled, there were questions over whether it should be a Class C or B drug.

    "A review of the Misuse of Drugs Act was promised by the government in January 2006, but was subsequently dropped.

    "Given the number of substances being made illegal under the Act with the likely prospect of more to come... it is even more important that the classification system is reviewed."

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  1. G_nome

    What, like tobacco?

    This news really pisses me off.
    But what can we do eh?
  2. enquirewithin
    Three types of chemical highs which are currently legal are due to be banned by the end of the year:

    GBL (Gamma-Butyrolactone) is a chemical solvent which is converted in the stomach into the Class C drug GHB (gamma-hydroxybutyrate) which is nicknamed "liquid ecstasy".

    GBL has already been banned for personal use in several countries including the United States, Canada and Sweden but its industrial use as a paint stripper means it is widely available on the internet and even in some health food shops for reportedly as little as 50p per dose. The UK's Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs highlighted last August that the "harms and misuse" of GBL were commensurate with a Class C drug. The dangers were also highlighted in a report by the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction earlier this year.

    It said GBL was becoming more popular as a recreational drug and, despite security measures to limit its use in clubs and pubs, it was regularly being smuggled into London nightspots mixed with water in plastic bottles, condoms and balloons. It is virtually tasteless when diluted.

    The report said: "The ease with which GBL and thus GHB can be acquired allows potentially much easier and cheaper access than that usually found in illicit drug markets in the EU."

    It said people who bought the drug ranged from clubbers seeking euphoria to people interested in purported anti-ageing remedies or seeking increased sexual function.

    The death of student Hester Stewart, 21, in April this year prompted calls for GBL to be outlawed which were led by her family. Miss Stewart, a cheerleader with the Brighton and Sussex Waves, died after she consumed GBL with her on-off boyfriend Anthony Morrison after returning to his shared house in Brighton following an American football awards ceremony. Mr Morrison said it was the first time that Ms Stewart, a University of Sussex student studying molecular medicine, had taken the drug, which had been bought online from a site which warned it was not for human consumption. She was dead when he woke up at 9am on April 6, he told an inquest into her death.

    The inquest was told although the level of GBL consumed by Ms Stewart was low and would have led to full recovery in some people, its combination with alcohol proved fatal. Brighton and Hove coroner Veronica Hamilton-Deeley, who recorded a verdict of misadventure, said people using drugs like GBL recreationally needed to understand they were playing "Russian Roulette". The Home Office plans to classify GBL as a Class C drug and ban it when intended for human consumption.

    Synthetic cannabinoids, like the brand Spice, will become a Class B drug, the same as cannabis. The Government's drug adviser called for Spice to be banned earlier this month, saying it was created using dangerous chemicals although sold as a "natural" high.

    Professor David Nutt, chairman of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD), said: "Spice and other synthetic cannabinoid products are being sold legally as harmless 'herbal legal highs'. "However, the herbal content is coated in one or more dangerous chemical compounds that mimic the effects of cannabis.

    "These are not harmless herbal alternatives and have been found to cause paranoia and panic attacks." Pouches of the drug are currently widely available on the internet and in so-called "head shops" for around £20 for three grams. It is sold under brands such as Spice Silver, Spice Gold, Spice Diamond and Spice Yucatan Fire.

    The drug was banned in Germany, Austria and France, earlier this year. Reports from Germany suggested some users suffered heart problems after smoking the drug. Spice and other so-called synthetic cannabinoids escape existing UK drugs laws because they do not contain marijuana and are not chemically related to it.

    But by spraying synthetic additives on to herbs, dealers can create similar intoxication in users to that caused by THC, the active ingredient in cannabis. Analysis of samples of Spice showed it had a "higher potency" than THC, the ACMD warned.

    Its report said herbs listed on the packets of the drug were often not found inside and large amounts of Vitamin E were used to hide other chemicals. It said users could not "assume the same effects from the same product the next time they use it". BZP (Benzylpiperazine) is used to worm animals and as a fertiliser but has become popular for recreational use as it can have a similar effect to amphetamine. The drug is said to create euphoria and enhance a user's sense of taste, sound and colour.

    Some websites have marketed it as legal ecstasy and sell it for as little as £1 a tablet but it has already been banned in countries including America, Australia and Japan.

    Assistant deputy Sheffield coroner David Urpeth described BZP as a "huge concern for society" when he recorded a verdict of misadventure into the death of Daniel Backhouse, 22, from Sheffield, who suffered heart failure after mixing BZP with MDMA, the powdered form of Ecstasy.

    Mr Urpeth, speaking in May, said there was a "significant chance" of more deaths where BZP was mixed with ecstasy.

    The Government plans to control BZP, and related piperazines, as Class C drugs.

    Legal high drugs to be banned By Beverley Rouse, Press Association


    It's ironic that on the same front page, the Independent glibly states that Karzai "narrowly won" a so-called election in Afghanistan. It's well known that the results were massively rigged. So the government bans a few relatively harmless drugs and supports a war in which thousands are needlessly dying and which has increased the supply of heroin to Britain enormously.

    "BZP (Benzylpiperazine) is used to worm animals and as a fertiliser but has become popular for recreational use as it can have a similar effect to amphetamine." That's almost as ridiculous as saying that Karzai won a election!
  3. Storming Heaven
    Does anybody know if banning all synthetic compounds found within a family of chems when some have not even been created as such is constitutional? Would the house of lords not have some jurisdiction over this kind of thing....any legal wiz's out there care to help shed some light on this?
  4. Alfa
    You've got a good point there. I think the first thing is that they are banning cannabinoid compounds of which they have absolutely no proof tht they are harmful or not.

    Professor Nutt is stating that they are dangerous, so it seems to me that the first course of auction for the legal highs industry should be to sue him and demand to retract that statement. A battle about the harmfulness of cannabinoids should at the very least postpone a ban with a substantial amount of time.

    Paranoia and panic attacks are the best they can come up with. Alcohol, tabacco and a lot of other currently legal matters cause paranoia and panic attacks. In fact: the AMCD can is causing this right now.
  5. Potter
    Oh god that really IS his name? I thought you were just calling him names, pretty amazing their expert is a certified "Nutt".

    Can't you all accept that getting high and having fun is dangerous? That's why these things need to be banned!
  6. Storming Heaven
    There was some kind of commitee set up recently in UK to represent the industry there was chat about it at the hemp expo last year in London, does anybody know if anything came of it? Perhaps they could try and throw a legal spanner in the works to slow the process?
  7. Alfa
    I think there is about as much chance on that, as there is on them ever getting the court case against the mushroom ban off the ground. That one has been promises only as well.
  8. demented
    Okay, i know alot of people don't think alot of Gordon Brown, but this is fucking ridiculous..


    Whilst not completely irrational- we do know that there are alot of fucktarded 'chemists' who simply alter well known, illegal molecular structures slightly to create unknown, unresearched dangerous compounds- the stereotype of 'Legal highs' has become some kind of blunt, unknown evil enemy to the government, which must be annihilated and destroyed.

    They have NO FUCKING IDEA what they are on about, too!
    What kind of retard makes Spice, a synthetic cannabinoid, maybe more potent than the real thing but at least SIMILAR, a class B drug on the same level of amphetamine! retards.
    Not even the media themselves have a clue what they are on about:

    And even worse, GBL, converted in the body to well known 'date rape' drug GHB, is going to be classed as a step below on the legal scale. According to these political primates, a drug inducing a light body high is a legal class more dangerous than one which could potentially be used to sedate one to the point of unconsciousness and kidnap them.
    Damn clever move there, Gordie B!

    I don't know what the fuck the UK government had in mind, but classing all legal psychoactive substances as evil, dangerous poisons that need to be banned- due the insecurity of the current political figureheads- just makes them seem even more the weaker to me, a baffled Chemphorian.

    Guise, what are your beliefs on this radically bizarre move in a struggle of power on the behalf of the turmoil-ridden UK government?
  9. Drum
    I personaly think BZP is bad.... I find real E much safer.

    Everytiem ive had BZp. IVe been frustrated with myself... agitated

    massive headaches... Sick and blacked out on all occasions.

    Its not a good drug.
  10. Synchronium
    I think you're referring to the Alternative Trade Association.

    Not seen any evidence of their activity though.
  11. ninjaned
    lets assume this is true. what did banning X accomplish? now getting X can be dangerous due to unknown chemicals in pills or dangerous people to get it from. why would banning BZP be a good idea?
  12. enquirewithin

    Brown, who has never had much popularity, is trying to appeal to the conservative (small 'c') by being 'tough on drugs'. But you can see that the Conservatives would be worse if anything. Silly statements about the 'culture of drugs and crime' obviously highlight that government policies have been failing for years, so they pursue them more vigorously!

    Probably BZP is not a great loss, but Spice, etc..... and what next?
  13. MrG
    Then The Home Office is staffed by ignorant morons who should not be entrusted with making laws designed to, allegedly, protect us from ourselves.

    GBL (a Lactone) is not and has never been a fucking worming treatment for cattle. That was the bullshit tag given to BZP, are they losing track of which lies they have attributed to which substances or something?

    Again with the patently false claim that GBL is virtually tasteless when diluted! Bullshit! As for smuggling it into nightclubs in condoms and balloons, that is so retarded a concept its not even funny. Pocket full of organic solvent anyone?
  14. Synchronium
    The ACMD are "looking at" salvia next, apparently.
  15. Storming Heaven
    Is there any indication of the wording for these proposed bans? Swim read today that these bills need to go through parliament to be passed first perhaps good sense will prevail on some of the proposals, although swim is not going to hold his breath!!
  16. Alfa
    The wording of the proposed cannabinoid ban can be found in the documents section. Although the ACMD did omit certain paragraphs of their proposed new laws. Basically their new law proposals cover any and all cannabinoids. Existing and non-existent cannabinoids. By listing substances and by analog law.

    I would be surprised if future laws would be any different.
  17. Storming Heaven
    Im concerned more about the wording of the bzp law i couldnt find the document any chance of a link?
  18. slow_boy
    SWIM knows that BZP does not go down well with everyone but SWIM has enjoyed it on the weekends for some time. SWIM is nearly 40 and has very rarely done any illegal drugs other than green. SWIM took a year off when he could not get any BZP online and looking back on it did not feel that BZP was so bad. SWIM has now started looking into alternatives such as Mephedrone (has a gram of Mephedrone in the drawer), Charge+ etc. SWIM took One and half Mitseez at the weekend, and while it was nice at the time, he did not enjoy being awake for approx 18 hours, and four days later still feeling a slightly elevated heart rate. BZP did not do this to SWIM. It maybe kept him up for 8 hours but that is manageable if SWIY does it early enough and SWIM got no hangover even with alcohol other than exhaustion and lethargy. SWIM is pretty lethargic anyway hehe. SWIM feels sad about BZP. Didn't find it addictive, and from what SWIM reads the only other thing that won't keep someone up for days is Meph which looks like a very addictive substance that will no doubt be banned in due course.
  19. port 21
    Swim thought spice was already banned?

    Swims feeling a nice protest up london :) byoh (bring your own highs) :D
  20. Alfa
    Not yet, but will be before spring 2010.
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