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legal highs

Two-thirds of young legal high users say they’ll ignore ban

The Psychoactive Substances Act came into effect yesterday, but a lot of you aren't that bothered tbh

Bummed out by the legal high ban? Thrown your pound shop balloons and old ox canisters in the bin? Nah. New research has shown two-thirds of young people who indulge in legal highs plan to ignore the new law.

YMCA and YouthSight surveyed 1,000 young people aged between 16 and 24 and conducted focus groups with 100 participants. 64 per cent said that, despite the now-implemented ban, they’d still use the drugs anyway. 71 percent of users also said they’d previously taken already illegal drugs.

Denise Hatton, the chief executive of YMCA, told the Independent: “While YMCA welcomes Government action on legal highs, we have uncovered strong evidence to suggest this will not achieve what is necessary to address the impact they are having on many young people’s lives.”

“The ban is likely to have some success in reducing the numbers of young people taking these substances; however, we believe it will to do little to address the hidden, darker side to legal highs.

“What we have discovered is that many young people, including those who are highly entrenched in their addiction to substances such as Spice, are likely to be unperturbed by this change in the law. Unless the Act is backed up with changes to the education and support currently available, our evidence says that these young people and more will continue to experience harm at the hands of legal highs for years to come.”

The Psychoactive Substances Act was meant to become law earlier in the year, but delays held it back. A similar law in Ireland saw a consistent rise in the use of psychoactive drugs among young people, and reports have warned that the ban will push a flourishing drug trade deeper into the underground where it can’t be regulated and made safe. To cover what the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 doesn’t, the act bans all psychoactive substances and legalises some: essentially, food, alcohol and nicotine, rather than being selective.

Two people in Rochdale have already been arrested after nine people collapsed while taking the ‘Clockwork Orange’ drug.

The law defines the now-banned drugs as follows: “For the purposes of this Act a substance produces a psychoactive effect in a person if, by stimulating or depressing the person’s central nervous system, it affects the person’s mental functioning or emotional state.” Relax, you get to keep poppers for now anyway.