Nothing Legal about getting high

Picture of Nicholas Conn

Nicholas Conn

Nicholas Conn is a leading industry addiction expert who runs the UK’s largest addiction advisory service and is regularly featured in the national press, radio and TV.

This week has confirmed the blanket ban on legal highs across the whole of the UK. The concern now is; what extent will our teens go to to keep getting high?
There has been a gradual crackdown on the substances known as ‘legal highs’ over the last few years however, the constant introduction of new combinations has meant that they have still been readily available – until now! The target audience for legal highs are teenagers, those just at the legal age of drinking and even younger. Unfortunately, lack of education has not only led to many falling into deep addiction but sadly some really unnecessary deaths. In fact, there are 60 reported deaths as a result of using legal highs in 2014 alone. Of course, you will still be able to access these no longer ‘legal highs'. Dealers will be stocking Methedrone, Spice and Laughing Gas (nitrous oxide) in abundance with their thriving business and new younger customers moving over to the illegal side of drug purchasing.

‘It used to be legal – it’s not that bad’

How long until these new influences move our teens onto harder drugs, after all, why take ‘spice’ when marijuana is cheaper and available from the same place? Why take Methedrone when the effects of ecstasy will last a lot longer? The possession of these once ‘legal highs’ will soon be as much of a risk as that of a Class A drug so the reward for the risk will soon need to increase too to make it worth it. These previously legal party drugs will almost certainly remain in high demand and illegal purchasing will soar. It’s really not about the legality behind the use and possession of drugs, actually, the darker side of illegal purchasing may seem more appealing to some. Young people are going to begin to find themselves in a circle of breaking the law, exposing themselves to a great deal of risk and widening their social circles to those older and heavier drug users and potentially introducing themselves to a life of addiction and even crime. We must ask ourselves, where will this really end? A massive, 64% of people placed in prison are drug addicts. The spiral into deep addiction once access to dealers is available could really cause an epidemic. On top of this, any person now found in possession of ‘legal highs’ also faces sentencing. Residential rehabs are seeing a large increase of people admitting having become addicted to MDAI, Benzo Fury, NRGI 1 and 2 and MK, all also known now as ‘legal highs’. Patients admitting an addiction to these ‘club drugs’ are getting younger and younger. How do you know if your child or someone close to you has a problem with drugs? There are some common signs to look out for if you suspect someone you love is using drugs. Looking out for subtle changes in behaviour can be key but addicts tend to follow a pattern;
  • Change of friendship group
  • The rapid decline in personal grooming and general well-being
  • Change in eating habits
  • Loss of interest in previously enjoyed hobbies
  • Trouble at school/work or with the law
  • Truancy from school/work or social gatherings
  • Change in sleeping habits
  • The decline in personal or family relationships
  • Deceitfulness
  • Secrecy
All of these things can be signs of addiction, and coupled together they can be concerning to see. Once in active addiction, lying and deceitfulness will tend to play a part in everyday life and if this is happening with someone close to you it is likely to be very clear. Do you need advice on how to get your loved one on the road to recovery? If you or your loved one are suffering from drug addiction, substance misuse, alcohol abuse or alcohol addiction and are requiring a detox or treatment please get in touch. Help 4 Addiction Call Today 0203 955 7700 or visit

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