Wanna get high? … Or die?

Drug related deaths have fallen in the last few years, so it would seem that the government’s war on drugs is working. However, everyday more and more new legal highs are coming on the market, new  un-tested, mixes of toxic chemicals that people put in their bodies and think it will be alright, because its legal.

Of course, the first risk with every drug is the risk of overdose, unfortunately when taking legal highs the risk is much greater as these experimental drugs have not been tested properly and do not come with health warnings. There will always be accidental overdoses linked to illegal drugs but the effects of such drugs have been researched extensively and if someone was to take them there is advice out there on how to do so in the safest way possible.  On the ‘NHS Choices’ website there is a large section on the effects of drugs and extensive links to places where people can get help for addictions, such as ‘Frank’. On this website there is a lot of useful information such as ‘what to do in an emergency’ and ‘what are the long term effects?’

Many legal highs have now been outlawed as a result of such high death rates. One of the more infamous ex-legal highs has been around for a long time but only came to the public’s attention around 2007 when it was being sold majorly on-line and over the counter in shops. The drug had a cute name and promised euphoric effects like cocaine, but legal, however, the drug was reported to cause hallucinations, breathing difficulties, increased heart-rate, and in a number of cases, death.  ‘meow-meow’, or to give it it’s proper name, Mephedrone, is now a class B, illegal drug.  Sounds a lot more sinister now, doesn’t it?

Marijuana is a drug that will always be debated on, there are a lot of people who would like it to be made legal, and as a result there are now a lot of synthetic, legal, alternatives to the drug available. Searching on twitter and facebook you will find millions of opinions on the matter, Social Networks are a great place to find the views of people who have actually tried and experienced such drugs. On one side of the debate, marijuana should be legalised because medical studies have shown it can help sufferers of MS and cancer. The other side, however is very contradictory, marijuana should be kept illegal because medical studies have shown it can cause mental health problems and loss of memory in users. The only thing that makes it a better alternative to the legal imitations, is that it is natural. Now, being natural does not make it healthy, tobacco is natural, and legal, but still one of the largest causes of deaths due to health issues associated with smoking. Alcohol is also natural and I don’t have to tell you that it is quite popular, so maybe marijuana should be legalised.

Tobacco has come a long way, from being regarded as attractive, healthy, and something worth doing to being viewed, nowadays; as ugly, smelly, extremely unhealthy, and something to be ashamed of.  It has always been left the decision of the public, however, whether they want to do it or not. Adverts for smoking were band, and smoking on TV programmes is discouraged where it is not integral to the story of the show, so as not to influence people in to buying cigarettes. Smoking in public places was also banned to stop others being affected by second-hand smoke, and there has been talk of banning smoking in cars so that other people in the vehicles, especially children, would not be affected. So anyone who chooses to smoke, chooses only to endanger their own health. If drugs were controlled in this way, would a lot less people use them?

In some peoples view there would be a lot of strain put on the NHS if some drugs were legalised, due to over doses, or other illnesses caused by misuse of drugs, or smoking related illnesses. If taxes were put on such drugs, however, such as the ones on tobacco, these taxes could be put in to the NHS and used to help, not only those affected by drugs but other patients, as well. If the tax was placed high enough, this may even discourage people from using such things, and may take away the ‘danger’ of using illegal drugs, so people will feel less inclined to taking them.

There will always be people who want to take drugs, and will, no matter if they are legal or illegal, considered medically damaging or medically helpful. The only thing that will stop people taking illegal drugs is if they are offered a legal alternative, which is not always the healthier alternative. So maybe the government should legalise the drugs they have tested extensively and know most about, provide health tips on taking them, ban them from public places, and let the public do what they want with their bodies, but in the safest way possible.

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