Drug addiction is a devastating illness affecting the lives of many people around the UK. While most people assume that drug addiction relates to illegal drugs such as heroin or cocaine, the reality is that countless individuals are struggling with addictions to prescription medications too. This was brought to light recently with the death of global superstar Prince, who it was revealed had a secret addiction to opioid medication for more than twenty-five years.
While most parents worry about drugs and try to warn their children of the dangers of experimenting with them, there is another threat to the safety of youngsters. Legal highs have been causing serious harm and death for a number of years, but many youngsters still believe them to be safe.
A blanket ban on legal highs is set to come into force in the UK in the coming weeks after campaigners called on the Government to tackle the growing problem. However, there are fears that this ban will not be enforceable or could simply drive the sale of such substances underground. Many believe that more needs to be done to educate teenagers on the dangers of dabbling in these harmful and toxic substances.
What Are Legal Highs?
Legal highs are manufactured substances made to mimic the effects of illegal drugs such as cocaine, ecstasy or cannabis. These substances are sold as plant foods, incense and bath salts, but are often cut with harmful chemicals, which can cause damaging consequences to those who take them. Legal highs are marked as â€˜not fit for human consumptionâ€™, but this does not stop young people from taking them. The fact that they are known as â€˜legalâ€™ highs means a lot of teenagers believe them to be safe.
Legal highs can have a devastating effect on those who take them. Even if an individual does not suffer a reaction the first time they take a particular legal high, there is no guarantee that they will not react the next time, as the ingredients often change.
One family in Scotland knows first-hand the heartache that legal highs can cause. A devastating legal high addiction has claimed the lives of two brothers in Fife; their sister is speaking out to highlight the dangers of taking these drugs.
William McGough and his brother Simon have both succumbed to legal highs in the past three years, and sister Melanie Downie has spoken about how their parents are â€˜completely brokenâ€™.
Addictive and Destructive
Melanie posted an emotional message on Facebook to highlight the dangers of these â€˜addictive and destructiveâ€™ substances, and said, â€œYesterday I organised the funeral of my second brother in three years… the reason – legal highs.â€
Legal highs have already been linked to 112 deaths in Scotland in 2014 but are due to be banned by the Government shortly. Up until now, they have been readily available online or in head shops. There are fears that people are stockpiling these substances before the ban comes into place, with concerns that this could lead to even more overdoses and deaths.
Mrs Downie spoke to BBC Scotland and said that her brothers had been brought up in a loving home but fell in with the wrong crowd when they were just teenagers. By the age of sixteen or seventeen, they were already using heroin. She said, â€œI lost them a long time ago to addiction. As far as any relationship with my brothers as adults, I never had one.â€
Mrs Downieâ€™s tragic tale is not an isolated one. Sadly, many people around the UK have developed destructive legal high addictions. Thankfully, it is a condition that can be treated, and here at Blue Skies, we have a team of expert staff with experience in dealing with a range of addictive behaviours. Call today for more information.