Following on from the Washington Post’s article about ‘bath salts’, state legislators across the US have been in a flurry of activity trying to ban the sale of these legal highs. The issue now has federal interest, with Sen. Charles Schumer, (D-NY) proposing a federal ban on their sale. I had a look through some user reviews of the ‘bath salts’ and the general consensus seemed to be that these were pretty powerful stimulants, with some fairly negative downsides. Experienced users, including long-term IV users, were reporting paranoia, heart palpitations and tension. One user described the experience as “not for the faint-hearted” and a few suggested that the 200g packs that the drugs were sold in were misleading for users in terms of a recommended dose.

Over at HubPages, there’s an interesting analysis (in the context of UK legislation to legislate against the sale of ‘legal highs’ ) of why the type of knee-jerk legislative reaction we’re seeing actually makes it harder for doctors to provide proper medical support, and is counter-productive to harm-reduction efforts.

The legal highs available today are just more primitive versions of their former, now illegal, counterparts. A total ban just increases the risks associated with using. It means the market is unregulated, most of the mepherdrone and other formerly ‘legal’ highs available today are mass produced in overseas laboratories, with none of the safeguards that anything designed for human consumption would normally be subject to. This means that drugs can be cut with anything and the user can never be 100% certain on what it is they are taking. Similarly, doctors cannot keep up with the constantly changing market and therefore do not know the best way to care for people who do misuse legal highs.