Study Finds “Legal Highs” Often Contain Controlled Substances

A new report by Dr. Mark Baron of the School of Natural and Applied Sciences at the UK’s University of Lincoln found that many drugs sold as “legal highs” on the Internet do not actually contain the ingredients they claim. Some actually contain controlled substances, making them illegal to sell.

Dr. Baron bought a range of “legal highs” from different websites to study their contents. He said that it’s clear that many consumers buy products thinking they contain specific substances, but in reality the labels are unreliable. He added that consumers need to be aware that they have no idea what they will be taking, and that some of these products contain illegal substances.

There has been a recent increase in the number of substances labeled “legal highs” that can be easily found on the Internet. The United Kingdom and other governments have acted to control these products, but manufacturers are attempting to offer new products that are out of the restrictions of current legislation.

Dr. Baron bought MDAI, 5-IAI, Benzo Fury, and NRG-3 from and two MDA-labeled samples from and Six of the seven products did not contain the advertised active ingredient, and five of the samples contained controlled substances benzylpiperazine and 1-[3-(trifluoromethyl)phenyl], which were combined with caffeine.

He noted that purchasing the substances was easy, and that several online retailers advertise the substances as bath salts, research chemicals, or plant food. However, there are no guidelines as to what exactly is being purchased, and consumers are led to believe that what they are buying is completely legal.

Dr. Baron said that his findings show that the “legal high” market is supplying banned substances, and he hopes his work will help consumers be more aware of the dangers of buying these products online.

Source: Medical News Today, The Dangers Of Purchasing ‘Legal Highs’ From The Internet, May 22, 2011