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Legal Highs / NPS

novel psychoactive substances, research chemicals,
synthetic drugs, chems, synths



A wide range of different substances, many of them new, that are associated with each other because they are sold openly over the internet, and in head shops.

Often marketed as alternatives to illegal drugs.



Most commonly either white (ish) powders, or tablets.


method of use

Most commonly Snorted, Swallowed or Injected.



The names NPS or Legal Highs could refer to any of such a wide range of drugs that it is impossible to state what sort of effects they would have.

Many of these substances are stimulants (meaning they ‘wake you up’ or give you energy) but some are Depressants (meaning they make you relaxed/sleepy) and some are Hallucinogenic.


health risks

As the names Legal Highs & NPS cover such a wide range of substances, it is not really possible to summarise the risks. Many of these substances are much, much stronger, and often more harmful. than the illegal drugs they are marketed as an alternative to.

If using these substances, it is a good idea to start with very small doses, and wait several hours before taking any more.

Many of these substances appear to be quite addictive, with people developing both psychological and physical dependencies to some of them. If you are in any way concerned about your drug use, you should contact your local drugs service, who may be able to give you more specific advice for the particular drugs you are taking.


the law

These substances are only legal because they have not been banned yet, not because they are safe. Substances are regularly banned by the government, and then quickly replaced with new, often more harmful substances, by the producers.

If buying these substances you should not assume that they are either legal, or safe.

Published in Alcohol & Drugs