Saturday, 15 February 2014
Legal-Highs Can Kill
The number of UK deaths linked to so-called "legal highs" has risen in recent years - from 10 in 2009 to at least 68 in 2012, figures show.
Researchers compiled post-mortem test results for the National Programme on Substance Abuse Deaths.
Designed to mimic the effects of illegal drugs, "legal highs" are chemically different enough to not be covered by the law. They are on sale openly on websites and high streets across the UK.
The chemicals - known as New Psychoactive Substances (NPS) - are made on an industrial scale in countries like China and India and then packaged and distributed throughout Europe. Suppliers can sell many of them legally as long as they write "not for human consumption" on the packets. They are often sold as plant food or bath salts.
The government says it is leading the way globally by banning new drugs quickly.
But often new versions are then cooked up and come on sale almost immediately after a ban comes into place. The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction identified 73 new substances in 2012 alone.
Read more on this story, and the devastating effects it's had on one family, on the BBC news website.