The emergence of ‘legal highs’ in the last fifteen years has been well documented. It appears that more and more users are looking for legal ways to get the same feeling and effects as those drugs that are considered illegal by the authorities. The legal high industry is booming, now reaching countries like Peru and the Seychelles.
These new ‘chemicals’ are being produced in places like far east Asia where for example, you can research purposes only. This slight wording places the onus on the purchaser rather than the vendor and these companies believe that they can now trade under certain legislation.
The issue for authorities, particularly in the UK and USA, where consumption is largest, is that these highs are not restricted by current law. The UK has moved to try to eradicate the problem by announcing that all legal highs are now considered illegal. This is still not completely eliminating the issue, as much of the law bans the selling of the product. In these situations though, the seller is part of a global network that are not affected by the legislation.
Some of these companies, like the site, based in Hong Kong sell direct to anyone in the world, and pride themselves on anonymity, so much so that they don’t even use Paypal. This is a company trying to eradicate any trace of their customer base, this allows customers to be safe in the knowledge that they are unlikely to be tracked down as consumers who are using this drug recreationally.
The dangers for officials in these countries is that these research chemicals are just not tested enough yet. So at least they aren’t misleading anyone with name ‘research chemicals’. The technology and chemistry behind these products is ever changing, and so clinical tests are not being carried out. Again, there is no requirement for the research chemical suppliers to test their products, as their market plan is to sell them for others to do the research. As you can imagine, many of the orders are not being used for research.
The chemicals inside these legal highs are created by laboratories and as yet don’t particularly have fancy street names. It’s unlikely to get one too, as by the time a chemical is famous enough to be given a catchy name – the government is likely to have formally illegalised the product, and the producers will be amending the chemical make-up of it to produce a new chemical. Buyers, for example, are able to look at it, with very little known about the drug. In fact, there may be no lasting effects to these chemicals if used for personal use. Officials have to make a decision based on similar chemical compounds and the information given to them by authorities who may come across them on the street.
The other issue is the use of the drug when being used recreationally. These websites keep it simple enough to purchase the research chemical, but they are very clear that it is used for research and therefore have no advice on how to ingest the product. Therefore those using it to take recreationally as a party pill or similar, are left to trial their own methods and amounts to create the feeling they desire to achieve.