"Legal highs": Legal intoxicants can lead to poisoning


Big concern about "legal highs" - legal intoxicants extremely harmful to health
You can simply order them online or sometimes buy them in stores. For this reason, most people initially assume "legal highs" to be harmless substances. But consuming legal intoxicants can have serious health consequences. Experts strongly advise against taking it.

Disguised as herbal mixtures or bath salts
In many cases, they come in harmless form as herbal mixtures or bath salts and are lawfully sold on the Internet or in shops. But they are dangerous like some illegal drugs. Again and again health experts and the police warn against legal drugs, so-called "legal highs". As Peter Urban of the Brandenburg Police Headquarters said, according to a message from the dpa news agency, the new intoxicants had developed into a dangerous phenomenon.

Legal intoxicants are hazardous to health
"Officially, these are not considered drugs, but they are highly toxic with devastating health consequences," explained the managing director of the Brandenburg State Office for Addiction Issues, Andrea Hardeling. Experts from the Poison Control Center in Baden-Württemberg recently made a similar statement. They warned of dangerous side effects of such substances. Depending on the composition of the ingredients, psychological complaints such as panic attacks and hallucinations can develop after consuming highly dangerous legal highs. Physical impairments such as fluctuations in blood pressure, nausea and vomiting, serious cardiovascular problems, cramps or comatose conditions can also occur.

The consumer was in mortal danger
What makes the situation particularly problematic is that the new intoxicants meet a curious, experimental and mostly younger clientele. This is shown, among other things, by cases from Lower Saxony. For example, 16 people in Hannover recently contracted massive "legal high" poisoning. According to the dpa, a 23-year-old has even been in mortal danger in the meantime. But older people also use the legal intoxicants. Just a few weeks ago, a major police operation was reported from the Bavarian town of Schweinfurt. There, several men had smoked herbal mixtures and had health problems. A large search campaign was started because it could not be ruled out that several of them would be lost. “The intake is like Russian roulette: you never really know which substances are in what concentration in the herbal mixtures. The effect is absolutely unpredictable, ”says Urban, according to dpa.

Industrially manufactured bulk goods
In 2008, the "Spice" variety first appeared on a large scale in Germany. According to Urban, there is now a professional and globalized manufacturing and marketing chain. The "New Psychotropic Substances" (NPS) - as the "legal highs" are actually called - are no longer produced in secret basement laboratories. Rather, it is a matter of professionally and industrially manufactured mass products of high chemical quality, which are also sold on the Internet. As a result, the goods can be offered very cheaply, with prices of less than ten euros per gram.

If the ban is imminent, the composition will be changed
According to Urban, it is not so easy to ban substances because manufacturers reacted immediately to an impending ban and changed the compositions of their mixtures. "Legal highs" are often touted as an amphetamine substitute or advertised as "high", but drug traffickers are often tied, according to Urban, because these substances are not prohibited and there are decisions by the judge. In June 2014, the European Court of Justice ruled that legal highs no longer fall under drug laws. (ad)

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Video: The Dangers of Drugs - Legal Highs