Legal intoxicating substances may kill

On behalf of Attwaters Jameson Hill posted in Product Liability on Friday, April 3rd, 2015

Residents in Harlow may have heard in the news recently about the health hazards connected with ‘legal highs’. These substances have become readily available to young people and, according to a detective superintendent from the Hertfordshire safeguarding command, the dangers posed by them can include serious damage to a consumer’s health or death.

These psychoactive substances are created by chemists and designed to induce a high. They are intended to be used in the same way as illegal drugs with effects that include dizziness and impaired judgement. These synthetic mixtures will often contain harmful chemicals and are known to have caused unconsciousness and death for some young people taking them. The cabinet member for community safety is also the chairperson of the Hertfordshire community safety unit. He announced his alarm at the number of young people exposed to the potential harm of the legal highs.

In order to highlight the dangers of these substances, warnings and educational materials are being distributed using social media and apps. In surveys, 50 per cent of the young people who had heard of legal highs knew of someone who had tried it or had tried it themselves. As the substances are currently legal, they are widely available online as well as at events or clubs. Hertfordshire Trading Standards, partnering with police on this problem, has stated that it is taking steps to monitor outlets in order to ensure that sellers are complying with trading regulations.

Manufacturers and retailers who supply products to consumers have a responsibility to ensure that their goods are safe. If an injury has been caused by their negligence, then an injured consumer may be entitled to compensation. A solicitor who is familiar with products liability law may be able to offer advice to their clients on whether a supplier has been negligent.

Source: Herts & Essex Observer, “Herts residents warned that new ‘legal highs’ could lead to death,” March 24, 2015

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