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HIT Seminar Archive

Legal Highs

On 8th May 2012 HIT held a Legal Highs seminar in Warrington. The speakers for this were Dr. Russell Newcombe and Dr. Harry Sumnall. Both Russell and Harry spoke about how unhelpful news reporting has been around legal highs, with news headlines like “Man rips off own scrotum”, they also both worked to put the current views of legal highs into some historical context.

Russell had brought along his extensive collection of legal highs packaging (see photos below) including a very rare packet of the heroin laced cigarettes that were prescribed in the Wirral in the late 1980s.

Harry’s presentation ended with him strongly encouraging people to not get caught up in trying to identify each legal high by name, many of these drugs are being referred to by a small number of interchangeable names (lots of different drugs called ‘Bubble’ for instance), instead we should be identifying the ‘suite’ of effects caused by the drug and working with that.


Harry Sumnall

Professor in Substance Use at the Public Health Institute

Harry Sumnall is a Professor in Substance Use at the Public Health Institute. He is interested in all aspects of substance use, particularly young people’s health issues. Harry’s funded research programmes have examined the evidence base for substance misuse prevention and the mechanisms for implementing evidence based practice and policy. Harry was a Member of the UK Government Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs between 2011-2019, a Board Member and Past-President of the European Society for Prevention Research (2010-2019), and a scientific advisor to the MIND Foundation.

Russell Newcombe

Freelance Researcher

Russell Newcombe has specialized in research, lecturing, training and consultancy on drug use and drug policy for 27 years, with a broader interest in deviant behaviour and mental health. His main research areas include trends in drug use (prevalence and consumption), the psycho-social effects of drugs, and the reduction of drug-related risks and harms.

Video Credit

All the films of sessions appearing on this page have been recorded and edited by Jon Derricott.

HIT Seminar