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Experts Are Warning Legal Highs - Doomed

Wednesday, May 27th, 2009 Experts Are Warning Legal Highs - Doomed

Stina Backer of the Independent (25/05/09) writes a serious report surrounding the issues of ‘legal highs’ and the government’s likely failure towards a significant crackdown.

Indeed she argues that dealers in essence will ‘barely be affected’ by the Home Office’s efforts to reduce the so-called ‘legal highs’. Essentially the manufacturers are one step ahead and producing other back-up substances.

It has also been suggested that the British government are so far behind our other European counterparts in addressing this explosive issue. More specifically party-goers have already moved on to the next available drug.

However, Jacqui Smith, The Home Secretary, has said that in relation to BZP (which has similar effects to ecstasy) she will proceed and have the drug classified to a grade C. In effect it will then become illegal to possess or deal the substance. Notably the drugs original use was to worm cattle.

What requires careful consideration is the fact that produces in such countries as China, are way ahead, they according to Backer ‘have already diverted their resources to producing large batches of mephedrone, a drug with effects similar to cocaine which will remain entirely legal.’

Some accurate information is now pertinent in order to appreciate the seriousness of the situation. Moreover, Mephedrone. (”meph”) can be purchased for as little as £15 per gram online. It is associated with the methcathinone family; a distant relation to the Khat plant (is a natural stimulant from the Catha edulis plant). Furthermore, it is understood that the metabolism of cathinone. In addition it is acknowledged that it bears chemicals of a similar nature to amphetamines and adrenaline.

Notwithstanding, after the death of Daniel Backhouse, 22, a coroner called for the banning of BZP. It is understood that Daniel had mixed the drug with that of ecstasy.

According to Dr John Ramsey, a toxicologist at St George’s University of London, he argues that the UK in particular ‘is slow and behind the times in banning BZP.’ Dr John Ramsey is also the director of Tic Tac Communications, which is an organisation that evaluates the consequences of recreational drugs. He says, “We can’t rely on the Home Office to play catch up when it comes to these drugs. We need a sensible debate in the media about their potential risks.”

Fundamentally, partygoers are using mephedrone to get their highs. Users explain that the feelings from the drug can range from a fierce euphoric state to increased levels of energy. Other European countries have already banned the drug, whereas, at this point in the UK there are no immediate plans to out-law the drug.

A little about the background of these drugs may well be pertinent to offer the reader clarity.

BZP has grown in popularity since the late 1090’s. Indeed it has taken governments across Europe a decade to make the drug illegal. Hitherto, in March 2008, it emerged that the European Union took the initiative that all member states should gain control in relation to the use of BZP. However it still remains legal in the UK.

Most crucially, the drug is seen as easily obtained, a debit card an internet access is all that is required.

With reference to a 26 year old Australian, Sebastian Scott now living in south London states, “I have tried ecstasy, acid, ketamine, weed, mushrooms, MDMA, and coke. Up to last year I used MDMA and coke on a regular basis when I went out clubbing. But then I heard about meph [edrone] through a friend who raved about it. All I had to do was Google it and lots of shops came up as selling it. I bought two grams for €40 (£35) and the postman delivered it to my front door two days later.

“By the end of the weekend it was all gone. It’s very similar to the effect you get with coke but much cheaper, so now I only do meph. It’s easier to get hold of because all you need is a debit card and internet access. It makes you talkative, happy, a bit spaced, and energised and time seems to go faster. Because the high is short you end up using quite a lot. The comedown is worse than for any of the illegal stuff I have tried; it makes you really emotional and anti-social. But I feel safer using it and I know it’s legal.

“I still hide the bag of mesh in my shoe when I go out. To a bouncer it doesn’t matter, they will assume its coke. It would be frustrating to get thrown out when you are not on the wrong side of the law.”

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