Many drugs which are sold as 'legal highs' on the Internet do not contain the substances they claim, rather most of them are illegal to be sold online, reveals a new study.
"It is clear that consumers are buying products that they think contain specific substances, but that in reality the labels are unreliable indicators of the actual contents," said Dr. Baron, who works in the School of Natural and Applied Sciences at the University of Lincoln, UK.
"The product name cannot be used as an indication of what it contains as there is variation in the content of the same product name between different Internet sites," he said
During the study, Baron set out to determine the drug content of the 'legal high' products, which he found very easy to purchase.
"No guidelines exist as to what is sold and in what purity and consumers are led to believe that purchased goods are entirely legal," said Baron.
Six out of seven products did not contain the advertised active ingredient, and more disturbingly five samples contained the controlled substances benzylpiperazine and 1-[3-(trifluoromethyl)phenyl]piperazine combined with caffeine.
"These findings show that the legal high market is providing a route to supply banned substances," said Baron, hoping that customers will be aware before purchasing online drugs after this study.
The study was published in the journal 'Drug Testing and Analysis'.