We’ve all witnessed seas of those small laughing gas canisters, sprayed across festival fields or your mate’s living room after their big house party. But with legal highs now being banned, is this the last you’ll see of them? Probably not! Our research with YMCA (reported in the Independent and BBC News) has found that two-thirds of young users won’t take no for an answer, and will use them in the future despite them being illegal. Read on for the findings…
We interviewed over a thousand 16-24 year olds, 64% said the ban would not stop them from using the same substances, and of those who had taken legal highs, 57% started between the ages of 16 and 18. And if you thought that was young, a small number of people even reported starting using them under the age of 11.
“If it wasn’t for legal highs I would probably still be in school.” – Emily, 18, North East
Also, 68% of legal highs users stated ‘Laughing Gas’ as the substance they use most, and said experiences with it are short lived and relatively harmless. Other ‘psychoactive substances’, like Spice and Black Mamba, on the other hand were reported to have the greatest impact on health and well being:
“I had about three drags of a joint and I ended up locking myself in the toilet of a bus station in town crying. I was scared, my eyes were really red, I didn’t really know where I was.” – Leah, 17, Yorkshire and Humber.
Where does all this ‘getting high’ go down you ask? Well we found it was predominately taken in social situations like house parties (43%), a friend’s house (35%) and music festivals (21%)… probably to show Avicii they were cool. It may also be due to 41% of users finding that it had a positive impact on their relationships with friends.
So, are you surprised by the latest piece of research? Do you think the blanket ban on ‘legal highs’ will have a positive impact? Leave your comments below (anonymously if you wish).
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