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(il)Legal Highs

Psychoactive substances, also commonly and inappropriately known as legal highs, are in fact illegal ! They can mimic the effects of other drugs such as cocaine, ecstasy and cannabis.

Legal highs blue

THE LAW CHANGED ON 26 MAY 2016 - See more here

A psychoactive substance means any substance that produces a psychoactive effect in a person by stimulating or depressing the person's central nervous system, changing brain function and results in alterations in perception, mood behaviour or consciousness.

Nitrous Oxide, also known as laughing gas, is also banned. Users who inhale the gas from a balloon risk lung and throat damage, difficulty in thinking straight, hallucinations and dizziness.

Herbal highs are banned as they are in fact made of synthetic compounds and not herbs. They can cause severe hallucinations, intense panic and paranoia and mental illness, nausea, respiratory and kidney problems.

'Legal highs' fall into three main categories:

  1. stimulants
  2. 'downers' or sedatives 
  3. psychedelics or hallucinogens

There are many being sold with different brand names including:

Gogaine, Green Beans, Pink Panthers, Sparklee, Black Mamba, Herbal Haze, Benzo Fury, Annihilation, Acorus Calamus, Kola Nut, Naringen.

There are also many that are waiting to reach the open market.

It is an offence to produce, supply, offer to supply, possess with intent to supply, import or export psychoactive substances. Anyone found doing this faces arrest as a drug dealer and up to seven years imprisonment. See Psychoactive Substances Act 2016.

Anyone sharing psychoactive substances with friends also faces being arrested as a drug dealer and up to seven years imprisonment.

Psychoactive Substances Act 2016

The Psychoactive Substances Act came into effect 26 May 2016. It has created a 'blanket ban' on new psychoactive substances, also commonly and inappropriately known as legal highs.

The Act was introduced to protect people from the risks posed by untested, unknown and potential harmful drugs that can affect physical and mental health.

What is the government doing about 'legal highs?'

The government began researching the best way to tackle this long-term problem and announced a review of all substances in December 2013.

In May 2016 the law changed making so-called legal highs, illegal.

The Psychoactive Substances Act has been introduced to protect people from the risks posed by untested, unknown and potential harmful drugs that can affect physical and mental health. 

It creates a blanket ban on new psychoactive substances, also commonly and inappropriately known as legal highs. 

Staffordshire Police along with Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Trading Standards have been working with retailers and visited them all in April to ensure they were aware of the forthcoming legislation. Anyone selling these substances now faces arrest as a drug dealer and up to seven years prison sentence.

A psychoactive substance means any substance which is capable of producing a psychoactive effect in a person who uses it. Under the Act anyone found to sell psychoactive substances, or share them with friends, faces arrest as a drug dealer and up to seven years imprisonment.

Most substances sold under the term herbal highs are in fact made of synthetic compounds that can cause severe hallucinations, intense panic and paranoia and mental illness, nausea, respiratory and kidney problems.

Nitrous Oxide, also known as laughing gas, is also banned. Users who inhale the gas from a balloon risk lung and throat damage, difficulty in thinking straight, hallucinations and dizziness.

For more information please visit the Talk to FRANK website.