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New and Nasty

Key Fact

What are New Psychoactive Substances (NPS)?

New psychoactive substances (NPS) also known as NEDs or legal highs by the media are substances that mimic the effect of illegal drugs, but are not controlled by the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. These drugs can be either synthetically engineered or herbal.

PC Harris’s Advice

PC Harris’s Advice

Preview of PC Harris’s Advice

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Top Tips


  • Just because a drug is legal, it doesn’t mean it’s safe.
  • These substances do not have a recommended dosage printed on the label so you don’t know what you are taking.
  • The people who make these substances are shady business people with an interest in profit, not your well-being.
  • Many of these ‘on sale’ substances are labelled ‘not for human consumption’ so that dealers (sellers or suppliers) can get around the law and avoid responsibility for any negative consequences or risks.
  • Many legal drugs contain mixes of illegal drugs and ignorance isn't an excuse for possession.

Things to Make You Think!

These substances are often new and their chemical composition is constantly changing. They have not been properly tested to see how toxic they are to humans so there is no way of telling how they will affect you. We know nothing about the medium or long term effects of using these drugs.

We do know some of the dangerous short term physical and mental side effects and risks though, they:

  • make you confused – so accidents are more likely,
  • can reduced inhibitions, cause drowsiness or anxiety panic attacks, paranoia or even psychotic illnesses and more drastically coma, seizures, and death,
  • stop you sleeping, leaving you exhausted and depressed later on,
  • can be toxic to humans, even ‘natural’ or ‘herbal’ substances can cause kidney failure,
  • can have negative effects on mental health e.g. ‘head wrecked’.


Your school police officer will help you learn

  • the facts about New Psychoactive Substances (NPS), and
  • the risks associated with taking legal NPS.

Question and Answer

Question: Are these new psychoactive substances (NPS) dangerous?
Answer: Yes they are just as risky having similar health risks to illegal drugs. In fact they are often stronger than illegal drugs. They are far purer because the chemicals are legal and cheap to buy so suppliers do not have to cut them with anything else.
Question: New psychoactive substances can be bought on the Internet so they must be alright?
Answer: Just because they can be bought on the internet DOES NOT make them acceptable or safe.
Question: As these substances are legal can we mix them with other drugs?
Answer: No, mixing these substances with medication, other drugs or alcohol can increase the risk and in some cases has been fatal.
Question: Is it true that some of the new psychoactive substances are now illegal?
Answer: Yes, the government has introduced a temporary class drug order to protect you from the new psychoactive substances while they agree a classification. Those committing a temporary class drug offence will face up to 14 years imprisonment and an unlimited fine.

For more information about NPS, visit

If you need to report a crime, call CrimeStoppers on

0800 555 111

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