There has been a lot of controversy in the media recently over the ‘legal high’ Annihilation. To be legal or to be illegal?
In the past three months nine people have been hospitalised from this “head-blowing herbal incense” but what is it? According to The Guardian newspaper, they say it is a synthetic drug used to imitate the effects of controlled drugs such as cannabis and ecstasy. But with the side effects causing people to be hospitalised the government drug advisor has recommended that it should be banned.
I went and spoke to James Newalll, a Lincolnshire police press officer about the dangers of legal high drugs, he said:
“You just don’t know what’s going in these substances, they are not regulated, they’re not even tested on animals before they come to you. We have been in premises where the drugs have been cut on garage floors with spades, and we sent off the chemicals they used for testing and scientists couldn’t identify what they were. There have been really bad side effects to these drugs and the come downs can be really bad. So if you are taking these legal highs you are basically running a very big risk”.
I spoke to a student who has taken the legal high Annihilation and he believes it should be illegal and is far worse than anything illegal.
This was his experience whilst on Annihilation:
“I did it for the first time when I was in my friends’ room and neither of us had tried it before. We’ve tried other things in the past so it wasn’t a completely new experience. When we smoked it I instantly started feeling the effects; you instantly don’t feel normal and you start to lose control over your thought patterns. I realised I hadn’t reacted to it too well so I went to the bathroom and I looked at myself in the mirror and I could see I had gone really pale, something had gone wrong. I even started talking to myself for reassurance; I tried to pull it together. I went to my room to calm down, went over to the sink unit and I was instantly sick, it was horrible. I couldn’t actually pull myself away from my sink for at least 20 minutes. I finally managed to walk to my bed, which was a massive struggle. I lay there and I instantly thought I would be the one guy that would die on this legal high, I was sweating so much my fingers started to prune, my head was pounding and I was hallucinating pretty vigorously. Everything was moving around my room, around my TV which stayed still. I even came to a point where I had accepted that I was going to die. Luckily my friend came in and started talking to me and he brought me back to reality. I still felt awful but it brought me back and I started realising where I was again. I can’t believe this is not illegal yet, there is something wrong in the system if that has not been made illegal”
The police are in the process of trying to shut down legal high shops and they want to warn the public that although you may think it’s a legal substance it’s likely that it is in fact illegal and if you are caught with it on you, you are breaking the law.
But can you argue that alcohol could be worse than illegal substances? Alcohol can make people aggressive, out of control, incapable of looking after themselves or others. Many people are hospitalised and in some cases die off alcohol, so why is this any different?
With drugs you do not know where the substance has been, how it has been made or what has been put in it. Lincolnshire police have found arsenic in drugs that have been confiscated for testing. The police stress that if you are willing to take these legal highs, you are putting your health at a very high risk.