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    'Legal Highs' Time

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    Two so called ‘legal highs’ have been banned following advice from the Advisory Council on Misuse of Drugs. Under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 Serotoni and MT45 are now class A drugs, therefore illegal.

    Other class A drugs include: heroin, crack cocaine, ecstasy, MDMA, LSD, magic mushrooms, methadone and crystal meth.

    Jail sentences of up to seven years are imposed if anyone is found in possession of a class A substance. Producing the drugs can lead to a life sentence. 

    Last year, Serotoni was linked to 37 deaths in the UK. But David Nutt, Professor of Neuropsychopharmacology at Imperial College says banning Serotoni will have little effect. 

    “Serotoni is an old appetite suppressant, so safe when used alone in therapeutic doses… The deaths were in 2013 and were all in combination with other drugs and alcohol. Banning will have little effect. Education and testing would make more sense.” 

    Class B drugs include cannabis, amphetamines and barbiturates. If a person is found in possession of these substances, a user faces up to five years in jail. And a dealer could be behind bars for up to 14 years.

    Class C drugs, which include anabolic steroids and ketamine can carry a jail sentence of up to two years if someone is found using them.

    But many drugs sold on the internet remain unclassified and are produced at a prolific rate by chemists. A new drug is released onto the European market every week.  

    In 2012, 57 brand new psycho-active drugs were invented and advertised for sale on the internet. Mat Cat, Banchee Dust and Benzo Fury are just some of names for the drugs which are sold to users as a legal equivalent to cannabis, ecstasy and amphetamines. 

    The drugs are often manufactured in China and India and bought via the internet in a range of quantities, costing between £5 and £5000; they are posted to the purchaser. The problem is that no one knows exactly what they contain – or how dangerous they really are. 

    The British Government has introduced temporary banning orders on certain substances for a year. In February 2013, a range of cannabis resembling compounds was made illegal. However within days, a new range of products became available to buy that contained slightly different compounds, suggesting that the development of these drugs is outpacing the government’s banning orders. 

    There are around 200 synthetic psycho-active drugs being sold outside existing laws, the danger in Britain is that the side effects of such psychoactive substances aren’t yet known and pose a serious risk. 

    There is no official definition of the term ‘legal high’; however the Office for National Statistics does monitor deaths that occur from drug poisoning. 

    Drugs that are commonly associated with the term ‘legal high’ are GHB, GBL, BZP and TFMPP, mephedrone and cathinone. There were 52 drug related deaths associated with some of these substances in England and Wales in 2012. 

    However, in more than half of all deaths, more than one substance was recorded on the death certificate. 

    Deaths relating to MT45, which is now a class A drug have occurred elsewhere in Europe and the United States of America; Professor David Nutt, agrees that MT45 should be made illegal.  

    “MT45 is an old synthetic opioid from Japan – a bit like morphine – so it can kill in an overdose through respiratory depression, so it should be banned”. 

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