Glastonbury, which attracts more than 135,000 people, joined
with other festivals earlier this year to ban the drugs, which
mimic the effect of illegal drugs like Ecstasy, LSD and cannabis
but are legal and have in the past been sold openly at stalls.
Britain's Association of Independent Festivals coordinated the
campaign under the banner: "Don't be in the Dark About Legal
England-based consultant psychiatrist Ian Rodin, who is part of
the medical team at Glastonbury, applauded the effort to
highlight the risks of the drugs.
"The problem with legal highs is people had assumed that if they
were harmful they would be illegal, so people haven't exercised
the same caution as they would with an illegal drug," he said.
Also known as designer drugs, legal highs are flooding global
markets, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime said last
New psychoactive substances (NPS), aimed at the same market as
drugs like ecstasy, are proliferating, it said, with 348 types
reported globally in over 90 countries at the end of 2013.
Deaths from the drugs, which can be sold freely as long as they
are labeled "not suitable for human consumption", jumped from 10
in 2009 to at least 68 in 2012, according to Britain's National
Programme on Substance Abuse Deaths.
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The drugs are being created faster than authorities can keep up with
"The only reason they aren't illegal is because it's impossible for
the law to keep up with it," Rodin said.
The government said the designer drug AMT, which acts in a similar
way to LSD, should be banned along with other deadly substances in a
group of chemicals known as tryptamines, including a drug called
5-MeO-DALT, know as "rock star" or "green beans".
AMT led to the death of a teenager in Southampton, southern England,
Festival goer Jamie, aged 21, from North Wales, said he had seen the
effects that legal highs could have.
"People think because it's legal, it's as safe as buying your
tea-bags," he said. "But there's always a risk with everything you
(Editing by Sonya Hepinstall)
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