Efforts to supply legal highs/ NPSs becoming ever more diverse

Legal high supply becoming ever more diverse

This week the proposed blanket ban on legal highs/ NPSs comes into effect in the UK. Whilst this legislation proposes a complete ban on psychoactive substances, many believe that it will have knock on effects to the industry and supply of such substances. With an estimated business worth £82 million in the UK alone, along with associated tax income and job creation, the legal high industry has a significant proportion of market share. Some experts believe that the incoming legislation on psychoactive substances will force users and suppliers back into the illegal drug market. The toughened clampdown on psychoactive substance by authorities across the UK has seen more people seek alternative methods of production and supply of the substances.

A documentary entitled ‘The Last Days of Legal Highs’ showcases the work of Dr. Zee. The Israeli chemist is credited with kick-starting the legal high market in the UK. His most notable discoveries include mephedrone (M-Cat / Meow-Meow) in 2009 which caused a media frenzy. The documentary highlights the work of Zee; who is a former scientist and researcher in the pharmaceuticals industry, navigating the law to produce new substances almost on a weekly basis. The foundation behind Zee’s work is the continued emphasis on changing a substance’s molecular structure in order to produce a psychoactive effect for those who consume the substance.

Despite the continued quest for new substances in the market, the new Psychoactive Substances Act will act as a deterrent. Zee acknowledged this and has already created a unique method to circumnavigate the law. He created the name “methspresso” for a coffee machine which has been adapted to effectively produce drugs. The logic is that the machine will heat the non-psychoactive substance in hydrochloric acid for six hours, before converting the resultant brown liquid into drug powder form. This method navigates the law in the sense that he himself is not altering the substance but the machine is.

Randox Testing Services provides drug and alcohol services including tests for new legal highs. For more information on our tests for psychoactive substances visit our website www.randoxtestingservices.com or contact us at testingservices@randox.com.