News story

Students warned about risks of 'legal highs'

Home Office campaign warns students about the risks of taking herbal pills and other substances as alternatives to hard drugs.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

The ‘Crazy Chemist’ campaign warns young people that just because a substance is advertised as ‘legal’, doesn’t mean it’s safe.

Featuring an eye catching and menacing scientist, the campaign conveys the unscrupulous nature of people who create and sell substances with little concern for the health of those who consume them.

Crime Prevention Minister James Brokenshire launched the campaign while visiting Roehampton University.

He said that the campaign sends a ‘clear message to anyone tempted to try a legal high.’  

‘Just because something is advertised as “legal” does not mean it is safe and it may not even be legal. There is increasing evidence that substances sold as “legal highs” often contain harmful illegal drugs’, the Minister said.

Read the full press release

Posters and postcards 

The campaign, which is being run in partnership with the National Union of Students (NUS), will see posters and postcards distributed in university student unions across the country from ‘freshers’ week.

Welfare officers will also be supplied with information and leaflets, which can be passed on to students who want any further information.

Temporary ban

The campaign follows our decision to introduce new legislation to ban ‘legal highs’ for up to a year. This gives the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) - the government’s independent scientific advisors -  time to conduct a full review into the harms of the substance, while also taking it off the street.

Naphyrone, or ‘NGG1’, and its related compounds, were banned in July, following advice from the ACMD.  

The ACMD continues to monitor emerging legal highs as a priority.

Find out more

You can read more about the campaign and the temporary ban on our legal highs page.


Transcript for Legal highs: an unknown quantity

Published 15 September 2010