A leading health charity is warning young people to beware of the dangers of “legal highs”.
Dr David Bremner, Consultant Addiction Psychiatrist at Crime Reduction Initiatives, emphasised the “misleading” nature of the substances being categorised as “legal”.
“Legal highs”, otherwise known as Novel Psychoative Substances (NPS), are designed to mimic the effects of illegal drugs, but differ enough in their chemical makeup to be classed as legal.
Today, CRI have launched a campaign called Strange Molecules in response to an increase in young people contacting CRI reporting that they weren’t aware of the potential risks of legal highs.
The campaign will offer both support and information to drug users.
“The phrase legal is very misleading, it implies a sense of safety that doesn’t exist,” Bremner told London Live's Wake Up London.
“The legislation cannot keep up with the chemists who tweak the molecules.
“We’ve invested very heavily as the UK’s largest addiction charity in creating treatments for this specific population.”
The issue has attracted greater attention since figures released in February revealed that the number of UK deaths linked to legal highs had risen from 10 in 2009, to at least 68 in 2012.