Legal Highs

At Ana Liffey we have found that the most useful way of imparting information around harm reduction is for staff to be well briefed from relevant resources, to learn from the target group and then to be able to facilitate discussions with services users or provide relevant information in one-to-one settings.

To assist with this approach at the community level we have gathered a cross section of what we consider the most useful resources on legal highs, and hope they are of use to you.

Legal highs are substances that mimic the effects of illegal drugs, but are not currently controlled by the Misuse of Drugs Act. While there has been a large increase in access to legal highs through head shops, most purchasing of legal highs is via the internet. Legal highs go by a number of names and forms. Some of the most common include synthetic cannabinoids or ‘spice’ products, BZP ‘liquid ecstasy’, mephedrone, methylone, methadrone and related cathinones, ‘snow’, ‘magic’, kettamine, GBL and 1,4BD. See below for more information on these substances and on how to reduce the harm related to their use.

Centre for Public Health: Mephedrone Briefing.

This presents information on Mephedrone (also known as: 4-MMC, ‘Meow’, ‘M-Cat’) and other related drugs. This substance has received recent media attention concerning its legality and (largely unconfirmed) speculations around its contribution to the deaths of several young people. Most information outlined here is derived from users themselves or user orientated websites.

Ana Liffey Drug Project: “Use Your Head: Harm Reduction Information”

This booklet provides harm reduction information for individuals using psychoactive drugs – legal highs or otherwise. The booklet has been developed in conjunction with Ana Liffey’s Peer Support Programme.

Talk to Frank: Needed: Human Lab Rats.

Crazy Chemist Poster: This is part of the UK led ‘Talk to Frank’ initiative. It should be noted the classifications relate to the UK legislation. It has been designed to target young people aged 18-24 and to feature in nightclubs and university environments.

DrugScope: Mephedrone, Methadrone, and Methylone.

This is research completed by DrugScope on Mephedrone, methadrone, and methylone (meph, m-cat, MCAT, Miaow, miaew, 4-mmc, bubbles, white magic, plant feeder). Includes information on prevalence and effects / risks.

Ballyfermot Advance Project: Legal Highs and Head Shops: Some Basic Facts:

In response to interest among drug workers regarding ‘legal high’ drugs available in head shops, Ballyfermot Advance Project, in conjunction with The Base Youth and Child Centre, have produced this information leaflet.

Belong To: Legal Highs Party Pills.

Leaflets supporting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth. Provides information on party pills (both BZP based and herbal). They have information on what’s in party pills, what they do (including side effects), and harm reduction information.

Exchange Supplies: Mephedrone

Lifeline have produced this FAQ booklet giving those who are using mephedrone essential information, tips for reducing risk, staying safe and looking after friends. This short leaflet can be purchased at Exchange Supplies and is targeted at adults and young people engaged in the recreational use of drugs. Use with under 16s with support.

Exchange Supplies: Recovery

This short film “Recovery” from
teaches the 10 steps of the recovery position in a watchable and unforgettable way…

European, Monitoring Centre for Drug and Drug Addiction: Understanding the ‘Spice’ Phenomena.

This is a research document that provides an overview of ‘Spice’, including the composition and effects of Synthetic Cannabinoids.