Forget banning legal highs and just legalise drugs
LEGAL highs. There the drugs taken by people who don’t want to be criminals but want to get of their face. Now, a group called the Angelus Foundation says it’s researched the market in these drugs. Its data “suggests a third of 16 to 24 year olds are now likely to try them”.
The survey should feature other questions:
“If cannabis was not illegal would you be more or less likely to take a so-called legal high?”
“Is alcohol too expensive?”
“Are cigarettes gateway drugs?”
“Is alcohol a gateway drug?”
“Should all drugs be legalised?”
“Would you like to know a cheap way to get off your face for a few hours?”
Sky News reports:
The substances may contain a dangerous combination of toxic chemicals which produce side effects such as psychosis, depression, panic attacks, heart problems, seizures, coma, loss of use of the bladder and even death.
May. So much for the research. Anyone “likely” to take the drugs will not be deterred by such woolliness.
The Angelus Foundation was founded by Maryon Stewart. In 2009, her daughter, 21-year-old daughter Hester, “died taking the drug GBL”. The coroner said:
Consultant histopathologist Dr Andrew Rainey said the cause of death was GBL toxicity and the presence of ethanol. He said the fact the drug and alcohol had been combined caused her death.
Ms Stewart’s mother, Maryon Stewart, once said:
“They are not drugs, they are chemicals and when you take them you’re playing Russian Roulette with your life.But you can’t control something like paint stripper because it has legitimate uses. When you ban one of these things probably a dozen others pop up to replace it.”
Mrs Stewart was right. Now she adds:
“There has been an unprecedented influx of new legal highs in the country. Currently there is a huge knowledge gap in their effects and the dangers they present. Legal does not mean safe.”
In 201o, the Labour Government banned the legal high Mephedrone – or meow meow. Why? If more similar drugs are available. What was the point of banning it?
Police in Scotland confirmed three people had been taken to hospital at the same time earlier this month after taking a legal high called Annihilation.
On ITV, Daisy McAndrew quips:
“I think the danger was clear in the name.”
No. The thrill was clear in the name. The youth will find news ways to get wasted. Ban one legal high and another one will arrive. One apparent victim was 13. Another was 15. We don’t know the age of the third annihilator, but it’s unlikely they were in their 40s.
In February, Northumbria Police issued a warning over the use of legal highs after the death of 18-year-old Andrew Lourie.
In February, police said:
Although police are awaiting the result of toxicology tests, officers are looking into the possibility that Andrew had taken a legal high and are warning of the potential dangers. Neighbourhood Inspector Peter Sutton said: “While there is no specific issue with legal high substances in South Shields, we are aware of the growing trend in their use in other parts of the country. I would like to stress that the use of so-called legal high drugs is not safe and can kill or have a devastating impact upon your health. These substances often contain potentially dangerous chemicals and can cause death. Other symptoms range from reduced inhibitions, drowsiness, excited or paranoid states, unconsciousness and seizures. Risks are increased if mixed with alcohol or other stimulants.”
Neighbourhood Inspector Peter Sutton did not give details of how many people have died as a direct result of taking legal highs. Legal highs might be a contributing factor in death. But it’s not been proven they kill on their own.
In March 2011, 21-year-old Louise Cattell took a dose of ketamine and drowned in her bath while watching a DVD.
Even the Daily Mail was force to concede that the drug alone might not have been the cause of the young woman’s death:
A pathologist found the amount of ketamine taken by Miss Cattell could have caused her death, but she appeared to have passed out in the bath and drowned.
Louise, a former student at London College of Fashion, had cooked a meal for friends and drunken three beers before watching a film in the bath to help her sleep, the inquest heard. But it was the high dose of powerful anaesthetic ketamine that Louise took that later killed her.
And it’s illegal:
Ketamine is a Class C drug which means that it’s illegal to have for yourself, give away or sell.
The NHS says advice on legal highs. But the advice is, obviously, that eating a bottle of something containing cleaning fluids is not without its risk.
Clearly, anything you take that contains fertiliser, plant food, powdered house cat (meow-meow) or a myriad other concoctions isn’t too worried about their health. They are looking for an escape. Educating the kids is good. But don’t expect them to listen…