Sharing injecting equipment such as needles or syringes, runs the additional risks of catching or spreading viruses such as HIV or hepatitis C. The main effects of almost all psychoactive drugs, including so-called legal highs, can be described using the four main categories below.
In fact the legal definition of a pychoactive substance is now so broad that it potentially includes every substance that is not specifically exempted by the act. Churches that swing incense may be breaking the law. If you, or someone you know has concerns about their immediate health, and you or they are already registered with one of our services, then please use the following contact methods to get the help you need:. Need information and advice around drugs, alcohol and legal highs? There is also evidence of the merger between drug markets. Doses range from 20 to mg orally and 10 to 50 mg when injected.
While drugs in each of these categories will be similar in the effects they produce, they will have widely different strengths and effects on different people. Stimulants like mephedrone and naphyrone act like amphetamines , cocaine , or ecstasy , in that they can make you feel energised, physically active, fast-thinking, very chatty and euphoric. Hallucinogens or psychedelics like N-bomb drugs act like LSD , magic mushrooms , ketamine and methoxetamine.
Synthetic cannabinoids like Spice or Black Mamba : act similarly to cannabis. The effects of these are similar to cannabis intoxication: relaxation, altered consciousness, disinhibition, a state of being energised and euphoria. Below are some of the risks broken down by type of new psychoactive substance.
Many of these risks are increased if the drug is combined with alcohol or with another psychoactive drug. There have been cases of death too. These can make you feel overconfident and disinhibited, induce feelings of anxiety, panic, confusion, paranoia, and even cause psychosis, which can lead you to put your own safety at risk. This type of drugs can put a strain on your heart and nervous system. They may give your immune system a battering so you might get more colds, flu and sore throats. These can reduce inhibitions and concentration, slow down your reactions and make you feel lethargic, forgetful or physically unsteady, placing you at risk of accidents.
Some people feel very anxious soon after they stop taking downers, and if a severe withdrawal syndrome develops in heavy drug users, it can be particularly dangerous and may need medical treatment.
These could lead to severe or even life-threatening intoxication when taken in sufficiently larger doses. They can also affect your central nervous system, and lead to seizures, fast heart rates, high blood pressure, sweating, increased body temperature, being agitated and being combative ready to fight.
These drugs can interfere with your judgement, which could put you at risk of acting carelessly or dangerously, and of hurting yourself, particularly in an unsafe environment. When you buy new psychoactive substances, you can never be sure that what you're buying is what it's claimed to be. Forensic testing of NPS has shown that they often contain different substances to what the packaging says, or mixtures of different substances.
This means that you could end up taking a drug which has stronger or different effects and risks than you expected. New psychoactive substances NPS that have the same effects as drugs like cannabis , cocaine and amphetamines can potentially get you hooked. Most stimulant and sedative drugs used recreationally have turned out to be addictive to some degree.
So that regular NPS use, particularly drugs with sedative or stimulant effects, could potentially lead to a compulsion to use or even a risk of withdrawal symptoms when you stop using them. Some people feel very anxious soon after they stop taking downer type drugs. If a severe downer withdrawal syndrome develops in a heavy drug user, it can be particularly dangerous and the person affected may need medical treatment.
Like drink-driving, driving when high is dangerous and illegal. If the police catch people supplying illegal drugs in a home, club, bar or hostel, they can potentially prosecute the landlord, club owner or any other person concerned in the management of the premises. This includes selling them or giving them away for free even to friends when they are going to be taken to get high. The so-called legal highs that were made illegal as class A, B or C drugs under the Misuse of Drugs Act, are still covered by that legislation.
In general, they rely on a data library to identify these products. But for these new drugs, which have just been synthesized, often there is absolutely no data. So we have to start from scratch and we need specialised labs like ours to identify these new structures," he said. The drugs are usually sealed in small packages that are sent through the mail or associated with false customs declarations, making it difficult for authorities to immediately identify them. Mr Guillou said: "We're talking about small seizures.
Small pouches of a few grams. We're far from the idea of kilograms of cocaine carried in a suitcase. The substances are often sent to the laboratory by authorities in different member states, after their own routine checks return unclear results.
This, combined with the information from our nuclear magnetic resonance instrument, will enable us to elaborate the structure of the sample in question," said Veronica Holland, a scientific researcher at the laboratory. After a few days of analysis, the chemical nature of the molecule is revealed, and the JRC team send it to the customs network.
From there, it is in the hands of the individual countries. They can decide to ban, however it is always possible that another variant of the NPS will quickly replace it. We have reached two new psychoactive substances per week.