Lincoln scientist warns of online ‘legal highs’

Many legal highs available on the internet do not contain the ingredients claimed, according to a study by the University of Lincoln’s Dr Mark Baron.

The study, called “An analysis of legal highs — do they contain what it says on the tin?“, appears in the journal Drug Testing and Analysis.

Dr Baron, from the university’s School of Natural and Applied Sciences, bought a variety of legal highs from different websites and analysed their contents.

He said: “It is clear that consumers are buying products that they think contain specific substances, but that in reality the labels are unreliable indicators of the actual contents.

“The product name cannot be used as an indication of what it contains as there is variation in the content of the same product name between different internet sites.

“These findings show that the legal high market is providing a route to supply banned substances.”

In the past the government has taken a hard-line on legal highs, moving swiftly to ban their sale and use.