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Feb 05

Which legal highs will soon become illegal highs?

4143_Legal_Highs-FINAL-1114Legal highs – also known as New Psychoactive Substances (NPS) – are a constant concern.

Whether it’s prison officers falling ill after inhaling legal highs used by inmates or high-profile sports stars believed to have had chemical reactions after apparently taking them, it seems they are always in the news.

But what are legal highs?

The name ‘legal highs’ was given to these drugs as they were used like illegal drugs such as cannabis or cocaine but were not covered by the current misuse of drugs act, so were technically ‘legal’ to use.

This doesn’t mean they are safe or approved for human consumption, it simply means that they were not declared illegal to use or possess.

The gap in the law was exploited but eventually the law caught up with the legal highs and many of them (but not all) were controlled under the Misuse of Drugs Act. To ensure that all of the current and future legal highs are captured by the law the Psychoactive Substances Bill is expected to become law in April 2016. This will make all ‘legal highs’ ‘illegal highs’.

Legal highs can carry some serious health risks as the chemicals they contain have often never been used for human consumption. Users cannot therefore be 100% sure of what they are taking and of the effects. In addition, it is likely that a drug sold as a legal high may contain one or more substances that are actually illegal to possess.

Drugs abuse in the workplace is a growing problem but the majority of legal highs (and those former legal highs that are now controlled) are not detectable using traditional workplace drug testing panels.

LGC uses the latest state of the art mass spectrometry techniques to offer a broad coverage, sensitive and most importantly ‘current’ screening and confirmation service to detect the use of these new compounds in the workplace. This is an extremely broad coverage workplace drug test that can rapidly be adapted to new threats and industry requirements

Our standards are extremely high and our procedures and kits comply with European guidelines for legally defensible workplace drug testing.

LGC understands the regulatory requirements relating to industry sectors (Health & Safety at Work Act 1974, Transport & Works Act 1992, The Railway & Safety Standards Board Group Standard GE/RT 8070, Railways and Transport Safety Act 2003, Road Traffic Act 1988, Corporate Manslaughter Act 2008, Misuse of Drugs Act 1971).

LGC helps you develop workplace policies that are thorough, practical and acceptable to your workforce and which fit in with the way your business is run.

To find out more about our screens and our services, please download our drug and alcohol testing brochure or contact us.

Last year we worked with BBC Scotland who investigated the effects, uses and types of legal highs. To watch the documentary please visit: The Deadly World of Legal Highs

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