Legal Highs

Legal highs now illegal! 

=“New psychoactive substances” – no penalty for possession. Generally multiple substances taken simultaneously. Previously sold as herbal incense or “bath salts”. Now online “party pills” etc. Packaging can remain the same but product changed. Mostly from China. 

Drug deaths in Scotland 3x higher than in UK as a whole, and higher than any other EU country. Since NPS are unidentifiable and typically multiple substances taken, it is hard to attribute specific deaths. 72% male. Synthetic Cannabinoids, cathinones (stimulant), phenethylamines (hallucinogenic), benzodiazepines. Can be smoked or ingested.

Toxbase has nicknames, but examples are Black mamba, Exodus, Damnation. 

Cannabinoids can cause tachycardia, long QT and hypokalaemia. For agitation avoid medication if possible else midazolam. Generally 6 hour effect. 

Cathinones snorted or injected as well. Euphoria, intense positive emotion. Dyspnoea, palpitations. Narrow complex arrhythmia. Trismus. Acidosis. Hyperpyrexia. Effects up to 24 hours. Check CK, coagulation, LFTs. 

To treat acidosis, treat everything else! Then phone Toxbase!

Phenylethylamines stimulant as above plus hallucinations. Coronary ischaemia, organ failure. 

Synthetic benzodiazepines tend to have pseudoscientific names. Flumazenil not used as risk of other drugs emerging to cause seizures etc. 

See Serotonin toxicity syndrome for hyperpyrexia, increased muscular activity, autonomic instability.

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