Legal Highs can be defined as New Psychoactive Substances (NPS) which are not yet considered illegal but the effects created by the same are more or less similar to that of the traditional drugs like heroin and cocaine. It has been registered by the European Union (E.U) that the use of traditional drugs is remarkably falling and the markets of the legal highs are increasing. “The growing number of NIS available worldwide indicates that the market for synthetic drugs is becoming even more diversified.”
The reports inform that within a span of last 5 years, 324 NPS have come to the notice of the agencies. There has been a sharp rise in the number of NPS in the last 1 year, right from 81 in 2013 to 101 in the last year. The reports reveal that 39% of the NPS are synthetic cannabinoids, there are no legal restrictions against them.18% of the NPS consist of phenethylamines .The same has enormous hallucinating and energising power capabilities .The third type of NPS is synthetic cathinones which consist of the 15% of the total NPS.
EU reports that there are 3 European countries to have blanket banned NPS,Ireland being one of them resulting into adverse consequences.The banning of the legal highs led to the shutting down of the ‘Headshops’.As a result the legal highs are now marketed online and more than 650 websites have come up to facilitate the online business.Use of illicit means definitely threat the Drug Controlling Policies of these countries.
It is really interesting that the increasing appeal of the legal high have cut down the demand of heroin-which was 59,000 in 2007 and has fallen to 23,000 in 2013.Although the agencies report that Afghanisthan and the other Arabian countries producing heroin can target the European market. Same decrease of consumption is noticed as for the cocaine.8 amongst 11 countries of Europe is reported to have using less cocaine than earlier.Cannabis which is most popular amongst the Europeans are used by 19.3 million adults with special mention about Bulgaria,France and Nordic countries where the usage is quite high.There has been a risein the number of people using cannabis from 45,000 in 2006 to 61,000 in 2013.
Nevertheless, a very valid reason in the increase of NPS could also be due to the improvement of the data collecting procedure which is helping the agencies to identify the same.