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  • euronews right on – Imitations of illicit drugs

    euronews right on - Imitations of illicit drugs

    www.euronews.com They are known by different names in different countries: psychoactive substances, legal highs, herbal highs, stimulants or ethno-botanicals. They are part of a new drugs phenomenon that is on the rise in Europe – legal substances that imitate the effects of illicit drugs. But they are also the focus of growing debate. These new drugs are now appearing on the market at the rate of more than one a week. Some countries are clamping down over health concerns; others have a softer approach. Portugal is just one country where it is straightforward and legal to buy such products, which are mostly synthetic. In Lisbon we spoke to a man who has been a user of both outlawed and legal highs. He explained what the attraction was to these new substances. “They’re easier to get hold of,” said the man, who wanted to remain anonymous. “We can easily go to a store and buy them. They’re new, and so it’s an opportunity to try something new. The police can’t really say anything, they can’t arrest us, they can’t do anything. So we feel safer somehow using these drugs, which are also more accessible.” He added: “I don’t know to what degree they can be dangerous, if they’re as dangerous as heroine, or if it’s more like cannabis, which doesn’t have a wider impact on you.” Users also buy online, with hundreds of websites flourishing despite the efforts of some governments to close them down. In some countries the new legal drugs are also sold in what are known as smart shops. We
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