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Use of legal highs on the rise in Britain

Friday, 16 November 2012


One in 10 young people in Britain has used a "legal high" and at least one new substance goes on sale each week, according to a report in The Times (p30), based on figures published on Thursday.

Legal highs now compete with illegal drugs such as ecstasy and cocaine and amphetamines, reports The Times.

The report, from the Lisbon-based Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, said that there were 57 types of legal high detected in Europe this year and online shops selling psychoactive products have increased in number from 170 to 693.

Almost one in 10 Britons aged between 15 and 24 have used a legal high, twice the European average of 5% and in Ireland the figure was 15%.

Most active substances sold in Europe were synthesised in China and India and organised crime groups are involved in their manufacture, according to the article.

Owen Bowden-Jones, founder of Britain's first club drug clinic at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, London, reportedly says many people use legal highs as part of a "pick and mix" approach towards drugs, changing their drug every week.

It takes "years of use" before the harm these substances are causing become visible, says Bowden-Jones.

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