Revealed: the Scottish legal high factory at the centre of a global trade
Legal party drugs, similar to the ones blamed for a spate of deaths across the UK, are being churned out in a Scottish factory in Ayrshire, a Sunday Herald investigation can reveal.
A firm is mass manufacturing the “legal high” known as Star Dust.
Last week 19-year-old Jordan Kiltie, from Ayr, died after taking a similar legal drug, thought to be mephedrone. Two other teenagers in Scunthorpe have also died after taking similar drugs, and a 46-year-old man in Hove collapsed last month with a heart attack apparently brought on by legal party pills as well as banned substances.
Robert Gorton, the man behind the Ayrshire “legal high” factory, yesterday defended his company when confronted about his part in the industry at his home near Mauchline.
When asked if he was concerned that legal highs could be responsible for the recent spate of deaths, Gorton said: “The same question could be levelled at alcohol, at cars. Does the car manufacturer feel guilty when people are killed by cars? People are safe as long as they are used within the guidelines given.”
Despite the links made between such products and the deaths of legal high users, there is no suggestion that Mr Gorton has broken the law.
Graeme Pearson, former head of the Scottish Drug Enforcement Agency, said: “The difficulty about trying to classify these [legal highs] is that the chemical composition can be very similar – in fact, almost the same. So when the government identifies one, manufacturers can change the formula slightly and create something slightly different but almost the same.
Exclusive: Chris Watt
Published on 21 Mar 2010
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