A ground-breaking undercover investigation by BBC Scotland has exposed the shocking truth of legal highs, showing how deadly they can be.
Just three weeks after the Falkirk Herald broke the story of two schoolchildren requiring hospital treatment as a result of taking legal highs, an hour long programme will air tonight (Monday) shining a spotlight on the growing epidemic in the Uk.
A team of investigators followed the journey of these toxins and highly addictive substances from source to sale and secretly filmed it all; showing that they pose a hazardous and lethal risk.
There is a growing problem in Scotland with the number of lethal highs being purchased on the rise. The synthetic drugs are designed to mimic the effects of illegal ones, including cannabis, ecstasy and cocaine.
The team enlisted the help of Randox Testing Services, one of the world’s foremost forensic toxicology firms. Head of toxicology Dr Mark Piper said: “These substances were not even designed to be used on humans.
“It’s like playing Russian roulette with your life.”
Legal highs were tested and the disturbing results show that the drugs bought in the UK contain a poisonous mixture of synthetic cannabinoids which have as strong an effect as illegal drugs, such as LSD, and in some cases even stronger.
Dr Piper said: “It is very much back-room and underground chemistry that is behind all this. You don’t know what is in them and what quantities of chemicals are used, and therefore how much to take.”
Statistics show that in 2012, 97 people died from legal highs, a big increase from 2009 when the figure was only 12.
The intense rise in the banned substances and their catastrophic effects has sparked the debate of a controversial Psychoactive Substances Bill, which potentially will implement a blanket ban on the production, distribution, sale and supply of any substance defined as having a ‘psychoactive effect’.
The BBC Scotland documentary will air tonight (Monday) October, 5, at 9pm.