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Legal highs

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X-Ray production team X-Ray production team | 16:19 UK time, Monday, 1 February 2010

This evening X-Ray goes undercover to tackle the issues of "legal highs", and highlights how easy it is to buy drugs from Welsh shops on the high street who are breaking the law in selling these substances.

packets of legal highs

Legal highs may sound harmless and some people who take these easily available drugs believe the "legal" tag means they're safe. But the drugs, taken to achieve an altered state of mind, are often mis-sold to exploit a loophole in the law - as it is illegal to sell many of these substances for human consumption.

The herb Salvia Divinorum comes from the same family as sage. It's an hallucinogenic and has been used by mystics for centuries to trigger visions. Now it's become known as the "You Tube drug". Young people post videos of themselves on the internet, smoking Salvia, which can cause psychedelic episodes. The effects of these can be alarming.

Mark Herbert from Prestatyn first smoked salvia ten years ago and describes the experience: "The sensation of smoking salvia, funnily enough, you'll be quite clear for a couple of seconds, still quite sober, then it will suddenly tend to knock you off your feet, make you feet very dizzy, a slight psychedelic blurring of the world around you."

As well as herbs to smoke, some shops are selling pills which are in the same chemical family as Ecstasy, but which aren't controlled under the Misuse of Drugs Act because they are so new that they haven't been classified as drugs yet. Wording on the packaging implies they are plant food, but those in the know say it's just a ploy to get around the Medicines Act which says that only licensed people can sell drugs for human consumption.

Watch tonight as X-Ray exposes the Welsh shops breaking the law and uncovers the potentially frightening effects that these drugs can have on users. Read more on the story on BBC Wales News.

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