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Thursday, 3 September 2009

Harmful 'legal highs' to be banned

  • Published: Tuesday, 25 August 2009

'Legal highs' such as BZP and the chemical solvent GBL are to be banned by the end of the year. The government said that far from being harmless, legal highs are in fact "an emerging threat, particularly to young people".

Banning legal highs

Find out more about the risks of drugs

Following advice from the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD), subject to parliamentary approval, the following substances will be banned by the end of the year:

  • chemical solvents: GBL (Gamma-Butyrolactone) and a similar chemical which are converted in to the Class C drug GHB (Gamma-Hydroxybutyrate) in the body and often used as ‘club drugs’ - will be controlled as Class C drugs and banned when intended for human consumption
  • synthetic cannabinoids: man-made chemicals sprayed on herbal smoking products such as ‘Spice’, which act on the body in a similar way to cannabis but can be much stronger - will be controlled as a Class B drug alongside cannabis
  • BZP (Benzylpiperazine) and related piperazines: stimulants taken as an alternative to amphetamine - will be controlled as Class C drugs

Home Secretary Alan Johnson said: "There is a perception that many of the so-called 'legal highs' are harmless, however in some cases people can be ingesting dangerous industrial fluids or smoking chemicals that can be even more harmful than cannabis."

To help educate young people about the emerging threat of legal highs, a new information campaign is to be launched.

The campaign, which will launch during the traditional student Freshers’ Week in September, will highlight their dangers, particularly when they are mixed with alcohol.

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