Germany sounds alarm over 'legal high' drugs

German officials Monday warned of the dangers of "legal highs", the increasingly popular drugs that are not against the law but still carry "incalculable" health risks to consumers.

The Federal Crime Office and the government's drug tsar issued a joint statement "urgently warning against the misuse of legal high products."

"There are incalculable health risks attached" to the drugs, often sold as "plant food" or "bath salt", the officials said.

Consumers of the drugs can suffer from circulatory failure, unconsciousness, hallucinations and muscle decay and often require emergency hospital treatment, according to the statement.

Earlier this month, the European Union called for a complete ban on one type of legal high - mephedrone - after a string of deaths related to the drug.

In Britain, authorities banned the drug, known as "plant food" or "meow meow", but it remains legal in several countries, according to the EU.

In its annual report, the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) warned that the availability of legal highs was exploding.

It said 2010 has been a record year for new substances coming onto the market.

The "legal highs" are frequently sold via the Internet and packaging often contains intentionally incorrect labelling of ingredients, the EMCDDA warned.

 

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