The production, sale and use of so-called ‘legal high’ substances have swept across the U.K., with new legal highs available everywhere you look. Since the government made mephedrone illegal, numerous legal substitutes have appeared, including the one known as Ivory Wave and packaged as concentrated bath salts but purchased as party powder.
Now the authorities are warning that this particular high may be legal but it’s hazardous to your health. This past week twenty people in the NHS Lothian area of Scotland, mostly Ivory Wave partakers, were hospitalized suffering from symptoms ranging from vomiting to hallucinations.
Officials at the Public Health Board and other agencies warn that these ‘legal’ substances often contain unknown, untested and unidentifiable ingredients, and that there is usually no way for users to know exactly what they’re getting.
The manufacturers keep changing chemicals to stay in the ‘legal’ range, but health authorities are trying to get the message to the public that just because a product is on the legal list there is no guarantee that it’s safe.
The major source of legal highs is the Internet, and anyone can purchase almost anything. Most of the products on offer contain chemicals whose effect is untested and basically unknown. The ingredient MDPV, a stimulant similar to and supposedly three times stronger than cocaine, is present in many of these products, including Ivory Wave.
Scottish health officials published a warning about Ivory Wave specifically and legal high substances in general, stating that use could lead to kidney failure, seizures, muscle damage and loss of bowel control, amongst other as yet undiscovered hazards.