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Legal Highs – The failure of the war on drugs
Legal highs have highlighted the absolute and complete failure of the US led “war on drugs” brought in by Richard Nixon. The failure spreads far and wide and has allowed terror organizations to thrive with profits from the illegal drug trade while allowing big time dealers to establish themselves globally while evading the law. The only real victim of the war on drugs seems to be the economy, recreational drug users, addicts and farmers all over South America.
The war on drugs has also inadvertently created the entirely new, untested and ultimately lethal new trend in legal highs and drug synthesizing. We saw the emergence of legal highs in the UK become more prevalent when methadrone (mkat, meow meow, cat, M) appeared on the drug scene around 5 years ago. Since then a whole new breed of drugs, producers and laws have arrived creating confusion, profit and huge danger for end users.
Substances such as PMA, PMMA & MDA have been directly responsible for deaths in the UK and Europe due to the varying properties and strengths of these compounds. The Superman ecstasy pills that went around Norfolk in late 2014 causing fatalities are an example of this. The main problem with these substances at the time was they carried a less sentence than MDMA for supplying and possessing making them a win win for dealers at all levels. The fatal factor is these substances are largely unknown and the majority of recreational drug users do not own or intend to own a drug testing kit. In the view of harm reduction in line with 2015 I feel drug testing kits should be free and widely available to prevent tragedies relating to overdose from normal recreational use.
We have seen a sharp rise in people heavily (both physically and psychologically) addicted to spice and other synthetic compounds recently. In some cases intravenous heroin users are swapping heroin for these substance’s which is almost unbelievable in drug use patterns. From a medical standpoint it is almost impossible to treat people suffering withdrawals from compounds like spice as not enough research is known about its exact contents and the risks in using medication designed to help stopping drug use.
Laws recently passed to blanket ban psychoactive substances have done nothing to stop or disrupt the flow and production of these drugs contrary to what the conservatives are reporting in local newsletters. Instead they will once again push the problem underground making the so called legal highs even harder to monitor and control. Legal highs become illegal in April 2016 and will no doubt bring less regulation to an already lethal market exploited from both sides with the end user at risk.
It is about time the government start taking a long hard look at drug policy and perhaps considering the wise words of Professor Nutt. All drugs should be legalized, controlled and taxed which in turn would lead to a safer and more profitable (from a tax and industry perspective) market place. Drugs are not going anywhere and no matter how much is spent in arresting petty drug dealers and users the demand to take them will remain and no doubt grow. Demand will always be met if profit is available regardless of safety or morals.