You are here: Home | Swindon CSP | Substance Misuse

Substance Misuse

Legal Highs

Legal Highs (also known as Novel Psychoactive Substances) are usually sold under a range of labels.  They are substances used like illegal drugs such as cocaine or cannabis, but not covered by current misuse of drugs laws, and so legal to possess or to use.

Although these drugs are marketed as legal substances, this doesn’t mean that they are safe or approved for people to use. It just means that they’ve not been declared illegal to use and possess. They are still normally considered illegal to sell under medicines legislation.

Some drugs marketed as legal highs actually contain some ingredients that are illegal to possess.

For further information or help contact CRI in Swindon on 01793 611 870 or call in to see them at Plaza 1, Sanford Street, Swindon, SN1 1HE

The risks

Legal highs can carry serious health risks. The chemicals they contain have, in most cases, never been used in drugs for human consumption before, so haven't been tested to show that they are safe. Users can never be certain what they are taking and what the effects might be.

Other risks

You increase the risk to yourself if you combine alcohol with any legal or illegal substance that causes a high.

  • Excessive risk taking due to reduced inhibitions.
  • Drowsiness, excited or paranoid states, coma, seizures and death.
  • The chemical ingredients in a legal high can be changed without you knowing so the risks are unpredictable.
  • It is likely that a drug sold as a ‘legal high’ may contain one or more substances that are actually illegal to possess.

When to seek medical help

If you think you are having a serious negative reaction soon after taking a legal high or you experience problems that do not settle with a little time out, fluids and fresh air, get medical help straight away by going to the accident and emergency department at Great Western Hospital.

If you are worried about continuing health problems after you've stopped taking the drugs, visit your GP.   If you think further advice would be helpful before deciding whether to visit your GP, call the FRANK drugs helpline on 0800 77 66 00 or NHS Direct on 0845 46 47.

Legal highs and the law

Many drugs that were previously sold as legal highs are now controlled under the Misuse of Drugs Act, including mephedrone (meow meow), naphyrone, BZP, GBL and synthetic cannabinoids (such as those found in Spice products). This means that they are illegal to possess or to supply to others.

Just because it's legal, doesn't mean that it's safe.