Deaths linked to legal highs

Two deaths in Shetland are being linked to so-called legal highs prompting a warning from police chief Eddie Graham.

The chief inspector spoke out on Friday over the dangers of legal highs, which he referred to as novel psychoactive substances. He said the term “legal high” did not reflect the potential risks involved in taking the substances.

Legal highs have been linked to two deaths. Photo courtesy
Legal highs have been linked to two deaths. Photo courtesy

Mr Graham said: “Novel psychoactive substances can contain a range of ingredients some of which have been shown to be illegal drugs or other dangerous substances. The term ‘legal high’ has been adopted by users however packages are clearly marked as ‘not for human consumption’.

“Basically users don’t know what they are consuming with some horrific side effects which can include acute psychosis, heart attacks and strokes. There are also significant risks when users are consuming substances in combination with alcohol and other drugs and we are linking this type of use to two recent deaths in Shetland.”

Anyone with any information about the supply or consumption of novel psychoactive substances or any illegal drugs should contact police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.


Add Your Comment
  • Patrick Anderson

    • June 9th, 2014 13:17

    The only reason there is a market for legal highs is because their safer, better known alternatives (cannabis, mdma) are illegal. It is entirely the government’s fault that these things are even on sale in the first place.

    Prohibition doesn’t, and will never work. Shetland police are part of the problem- they are largely more interested in picking on people for minor drug possession and wasting valuable resources than solving serious crime, and should be making a stand. The rise of alternative legal highs is one of the many tragic side-effects of cracking down on well known, widely used illegal drugs. Stop this farce now and legalize before any more lives are lost.

    Uruguay has done it, Colorado has done it, and now Washington has done it. The UK is a backwards country when it comes to drug legislation. Portugal and the Netherlands have some of the most relaxed drug laws in Europe, and their usage and drug death rates are among the lowest. That tells you all that you need to know.

  • Robert Duncan

    • June 9th, 2014 14:51

    “Legal highs” is a fairly dangerous misnomer for these substances. They are unregulated, rather than legal. The only reason they are not treated the same in legislative terms as street drugs is that people can create “new” substances more quickly than regulators can legislate them.

    I’m not sure how up to speed drugs education in Shetland schools is now. I left school just before they became a mainstream news item, so they were scarcely if at all covered in the various “Social Education” drugs talks we received. I believe the OPEN peer education group are doing good work here so I hope they are being that allowed that platform.

    • Rachel Buchan

      • June 10th, 2014 13:28

      STYPP (Shetland Team of Young People and Police) are considering going into local schools to spread information about these “legal highs”. However there are still things which need to be organised before they can do this.

  • ian tinkler

    • June 9th, 2014 17:18

    The paradox is here that these substances are legal to supply and use, there is no control over them whatsoever. Any chemist with a rudimentary knowledge of pharmacy can cook up a substance and sell it to someone as a “legal high”. It will remain legal until legislated against, then another one will be cooked up. There is no legal solution to this whatsoever. Now these legal highs are substances unknown to the medical profession. They are infinitely more dangerous than known illegal drugs simply because no one has any idea of the toxicology. How anyone can say that the present drug enforcing is ,sane, sensible and fit for purpose is quite beyond me. Even if DFD or the police found a ton of legal highs on the boat, they would have no legal power to size then at all, they are quite legal!!! even if lethal., War on Drugs! what a farce!,

  • David Spence

    • June 10th, 2014 19:13

    Ian, if this vile Tory Government gets its way (and presuming the Scottish public vote No, and Scotland is still part of the UK- regretfully) and completely privatises the NHS, then just you wait for the amount of drugs coming onto the market. Where the excuse given by the establishment (Government) will be ‘ leave regulation upto market forces ‘ and acting as agents for them will be your Doctor, Chemist Shop and whatever Insurance Company you are with (presuming they will pay for it as long as it is not too high a price (one suspects the pharmaceutical industry and insurance companies will be married together). The huge impact this will have on people and society will a thousand (if not more) fold compared to the present day.

    and Ian, the only reason the USA is the worlds second (China being number one – although, I predict, the USA will be much lower (between 15 – 20 place) in the next 10 – 20 years) biggest economic country is most certainly not down to its manufacturing industries or exports. The USA is only powerful due to, mainly, its atrocious Foreign Policy and exceedingly corrupt political dealings with Dictators, Tyrants and easily bribed Governments, oh, and the most of all, the weapons industry. (When it comes to country demonstrating hypocrisy, double-standards and total evil through its aforementioned policies, the USA is up there on top of the pyramid (which is ironically part of the design of their currency dollar bill)


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