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Legal Highs - a few thoughts

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Legal highs have been splashed all over the news recently, but what are they? Are they actually legal? Does that mean they are safe?

The expression ‘legal highs’ is not a new term, all it means is that the active compound in the drugs is not a controlled substance. Les Iverson, a retired pharmacology professor and chairman for the Government Advisory Council on the misuse of drugs recently presented a lecture titled, ‘Can we control legal highs?’ at the University of Aberdeen for the opening of the new Kosterlitz research centre. His definition for ‘Legal highs’ was, “[they are] defined as psychoactive substances obtained legally or by diversion from medical use [they], are not a new phenomenon. We are all aware of solvent misuse, nitrous oxide, party poppers and 'magic mushrooms'”.

The new wave of ‘Legal highs’ that have been plastered across the media over the past few months are mostly based on mimicking the effects of well known illegal drugs such as ecstasy. Some are herb…