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Five Legal Highs Banned in Britain

Legal-Highs

Five so called ‘legal highs’ have been temporarily banned in Britain for the next 12 months whilst a full assessment of their potential harm is carried out, following recommendation from drug minister Lynne Featherstone.

One of the legal highs under scrutiny is ethylphenidate, which is widely marketed as a ‘research chemical’ and has been widely available over the internet in Britain for four years.

The Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) has recommended that a ban should be placed on the drug ethylphenidate based on evidence that it causes serious health problems. Four related compounds have also been banned to prevent users from switching.

Professor Les Iversen, the chair of ACMD, said users injecting themselves with ethylphenidate were putting themselves at risk of blood-borne disease and infections.

The drug ethylphenidate, marketed as ‘Burst’ in Edinburgh, is responsible for the vast majority of legal-high related casualties needing emergency treatment last summer, says Police Scotland.

The banned substances are closely related to methylphenidate, a legal and licensed drug marketed under the name of Ritalin which is used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

As we reported last month the University of South Carolina carried out a survey which found that the misuse of Ritalin is prevalent amongst college students in the US.

“Misuse of stimulant medication among college students is a significant concern as more students with ADHD are attending college and prescriptions for stimulant medications are on the rise.” the report stated.

The study found that 17% of college student’s misused ADHD stimulant drugs, mainly to improve their academic performance. But the belief that ADHD drugs improve academic learning is in fact a myth; research shows that stimulant drug misuse may actually lead to poor academic performance.

Ethylphenidate is already banned in Denmark, Austria, Germany, Hungary, Portugal, Sweden, Jersey and Turkey and is under review in the US and Australia.

The Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs has also recommended a ban on 3,4-dichloromethylphenidate, methylnaphthidate, isopropylphenidate and propylphenidate.

The ban means that anyone caught producing, supplying and importing these drugs could face a lengthy prison sentence of up to 14yrs and an unlimited fine.

“These substances have been brought out because of the success in enforcing the ban on ecstasy and cocaine in particular. Really we have to recognise that this is a self-inflicted trade.” Danny Kushlick head of external affairs for Transform told The Guardian.

“If we were to have a regulated trade in drugs these ones would not exist. You would not have ‘fake cocaine’ if you could get real cocaine. The whole NPS market is a product of prohibition.

“This is a never-ending game of whack-a-mole because even using the analogues legislation there are new analogues; they can churn these out by the hundreds. This is the opposite of control and regulation. It’s fuelling anarchy in the market and we need to look at regulating frameworks for more benign drugs.” He continued.

Source. The Guardian

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