The explosion in new drugs often known as legal highs has become a major headache for governments across Europe.
New psychoactive substances exploded onto Europe’s club and drug scene about a decade ago.
Unregulated and blamed for dozens of deaths, users rarely know what they are taking.
Experts warn such untested products pose a significant health risk. In the UK, so called Head Shops get round the law by labeling products ‘not for human consumption’. But the British government has recently announced plans to outlaw such psychoactive substances and outlets. The move follows similar blanket bans in Poland and Ireland.
Despite such efforts to control supply, booming online sales in such substances make them almost impossible for governments to regulate.
A new EU drug agency report has warned the market in new designer drugs is growing rapidly with new variants of outlawed drugs emerging at a rate of two new substances in Europe every week.
In this episode of On the Frontline, Paul Hackett discusses the potential risks of so called ‘legal highs’ with Paul Griffiths, a scientific director from the EU’s drug agency the EMCDDA, and Professor Volker Auwärter, a toxicologist from Freiburg University.