A survey which asks people about their use of legal highs has been launched today by Bucks County Council.
Legal highs are substances which produce similar effects to illegal drugs such as cocaine, cannabis, ecstasy or LSD, but they are not controlled under the Misuse of Drugs Act as there is currently not enough research available about them to base a decision on.
The council says that for this reason their drug and alcohol action team has commissioned the Centre for Drug Misuse Research in Glasgow to gather information about people’s experiences and views on legal highs within the UK.
The survey asks participants about the different legal highs they have used, their reasons for use, experiences of using them, and their views on how health experts can use social media sites to better communicate news and information about legal highs to people who may be interested in taking them.
A survey for people who have never taken a legal high before is also included, and asks for views on these drugs and about the different things that may influence them to start taking legal highs in the future.
Information gained from the survey will be used to improve services in Buckinghamshire, and ultimately be used to help improve drug policy across the UK.
According to the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, there are now in excess of 300 New Psychoactive Substances being used, with new drugs being developed and marketed on a weekly basis.
Patricia Birchley, Buckinghamshire County Council’s cabinet member for health and wellbeing said: “The use of legal highs is a game-changing development in the pattern of drug use across the UK and Europe.
“We have seen the profound effect of this change on some groups of people in the Buckinghamshire area, and as a result, are keen to develop a coordinated and sustainable response. After investigating our options further we decided to commission original research to inform a programme of action, which may have a significant effect on the existing treatment economy and on future commissioning decisions by the Bucks DAAT, county council and other partners both in Bucks and surrounding areas.”