Debate: Should Legal Highs be Banned at Festivals?

A man has died at a festival after having a bad reaction to a so-called 'legal high.' Should they be banned?

Ultimate Guitar

A coroner has ruled that a man died at a festival in the UK last year by slashing his wrists after taking a legal high.

Daniel Parks, aged 35, took a substance called "Magic Crystals," similar to mephedrone, but had a serious paranoid reaction which led to his death, according to NME.

His wife Ceri who attended the festival with him found her husband locked in their camper van's toilet, where he inflicted fatal wounds on himself. He died later in hospital.

Daniels death may or may not be a rare case, but it begs the question:

Should legal highs be banned at music festivals?

Or indeed, should they be banned outright?

On one side, there's likely to be some incidents where people have a bad reaction. On the other, banning a substance can sometimes generate more interest in them, and drive a black market - or prompt underground chemists to develop new compounds which evade the law.

What's your view? Take the debate to the comments and we'll reflect on your answers in a future post.

54 comments sorted by best / new / date

    These legal drugs are more dangerous than the illegal ones in the sense that you don't know what it's going to do to you and in the (likely) case that you have to go to a Hospital, doctors will have no idea on how to properly treat you, since it's not known what that drug contains.
    The legal drugs can be very bad. I was partially addicted to the legal herbal incense for about 6 months. I loved the stuff. It was really powerful. Towards the end though I started to get bad palpitations and paranoia. I'd smoke a joint or two every other night and then it got to in the morning before work and before long I'd be smoking it every day multiple times. It gave me crazy munchies and made me exhausted after smoking it. Not to mention that the stuff was very expensive. There is not anywhere near enough information out there as there ought to be in regards to legal highs. I took it because I thought "Well how bad can it be, it's legal". In conclusion to anyone thinking of trying the stuff or who is actively taking the stuff. Don't. Or I'll chase you and hit you with sticks.
    I am an adult. I will choose what I would like to do and I will live with the consequences of my actions. It is unethical and, frankly, unconstitutional for the government to place restrictions on what I am allowed put into my body. The DEA oversteps its bounds by overriding state legislation and has made certain plants, which grow naturally in the wild, illegal thereby creating a super-violent market for the artificially inflated, arbitrarily chosen "contraband".
    Ban is it he worst word in the English language. Because one person does something stupid, everyone else will no longer be "allowed" to do something? Get real. People do what they want to do. The whole slavery thing went out of fashion over 100 years ago. You'd think after all these years they'd have learned that prohibition backfires every single time and creates worse problems than what they were trying to solve in the first place.
    I've been to many concerts since 1977 and have seen a lot of changes in security rules, venue seating rules, and the safety awareness of concert goers. I still think the security people should focus on preventing explosives and glass from getting into the venue. Let the medical professionals deal with the medical emergencies...and there will always be a new medical problem happening that we didn't have to deal with in the past. Us fans need to do our part too. Look out for your friends when going to concerts people. If your friend gets too intoxicated, don't let him pick fights or try to stage dive and get hurt. Just use your head. Damn, I sound old!
    No, they should not be banned. All illegal drugs should be legalised or at least decriminalised so people can enjoy relatively safe drugs like marijuana and ecstasy instead of new experimental drugs that haven't been widely tested. Seriously, it's time to start prioritising public health above the profits of organisations who benifit from drug prohibition.
    Stupidest comment on ug. Sure let's legalize ALL drugs so people won't get in trouble for smoking weed. I mean people who smoke weed are harmless. Nothing wrong with an old weed head selling pot to kids in middle school. And people who do drugs aren't hurting anyone but themselves. I for one have never heard of crackheads and heroin friends robbing people to support their habit. Its not like meth addicts would ever harm a soul when raging out. I've never heard of a drunk driver killing an innocent person. And prescription drugs... well a Dr prescribes those so they are actually good for people. I'd suggest you lay off all the drugs you do but obviously its too late. You are already brain dead.
    Decriminalise all drugs, yes. Because the only way to help people is to let them get help for their drug use without penalty. And decriminalised drug use is safer drug use (is. clean needles for heroin users, etc)
    True, and the only reason people turn to Bath Salts and Salvia and all that shit is because the safer drugs, like weed and shrooms are illegal. And supposedly the legal drugs don't show up on a drug test. "Legal highs" wouldn't exist without the war on drugs.
    Yeah cause all dopers WANT to quit. Right. Instead of fighting a war on drugs our tax dollars can go into fixing a problem that people created for themselves. Whew! That would make me sleep better at night.
    I m sure if if all drugs were legal all the addicts would suddenly get great paying jobs to pay for their drugs instead of turning to crime to pay for them. I mean who wouldn't want to hire a junkie to work for them?
    People have no problems hiring people with alcohol problems. Celebrities continue to make a shit-ton of money even though most of them are on hard drugs a lot of time. On the subject of tax dollars, the US wastes billions of dollars on locking up completely harmless drug users to the benefit of private prison builders. You're basically saying that you would rather pay corporations to put people prison and do nothing all day, than actually help them.
    crackheads and heroin friends
    Of course its very obvious that "friend' was meant to be "fiend" but was spell corrected on my tablet... but at least you can feel better about yourself for pointing it out now.
    You've just countered your own point. The small percentage of people who have the reactions you're talking about are clearly having them irrespective of if they're illegal or not. So making them legal would only mean that those who need help can get it without fear of persecution, & all the dangerous stuff can be regulated, & made safer.
    I've never heard of anyone being persecuted for checking themselves into rehab...have you?
    That's because only RICH people can afford to go to rehab! People who do not have loads of money are sent to prison instead. That's why people get sent to prison for half a gram of crack but you need nearly half a kilo of white powder to get a similar sentence. The whole thing is geared against poor people and ethnic minorities.
    no, safe drugs dont exist. Smoking in general should be illegal.
    Yeah totally. Let's ban everything. There's a road outside my house. I could get killed crossing it. Ban It!
    Safe drugs don't exist in the medical market either, actually often they have stronger side effects than the illegal ones. It's really a loose loose situation, if you legalize it everyone would go ape-shit and you would have a spike in it's consumption, it would probably take 10 years for that to slow down and for everything to start improving. But what has always bugged me is "why" is it illegal, metal working or improper home chemistry, or even some cleaning chemicals can let off fumes or dust that will rape your body much harder than most drugs would. So why draw the line of legality based on recreational segregation. It's practically like being in school again and being told not to curse in gods name, i'm not even ****ing religious. It's just one big mess man.
    So if drugs kill people, i suppose pencils make spelling mistakes, cars make people drive drunk and spoons made Axl Rose fat...
    Way to rip off an old argument but replacing drugs instead of guns.
    more people die per annum from peanut allergies, do you suggest we ban peanuts? lol.. get a grip its hardly millions dying every year is it? twats...
    Almost everybody eats peanuts while a minority of people are drug users. Take percentage of people who die of peanuts among the peanut users and percentage of people who die of drugs among the drug users and you'll see the difference.
    I think you are very naive about the number of people who take drugs. 20% of young people have admitted to having tried cannabis at least once in their lives. How many of them do you see at the hospital with terrible side-effects?
    I think you have to consider people die from the most ridiculous of things. I believe there was at least 1 tea cosy related death recorded, should be ban tea cosy's? People will awlways find ways to die in pathetic ways and people will always look for a scapegoat. THAT SAID, There shoulkdn't be a legal high allowed at festivals. The nederlands has the best way of having designated areas which people oversee it in. This is not possible at a festival due to the chaotic nature of them.
    Dude having a bad trip and paranoid reaction to something so bad that it makes you slash your wrists and kill yourself isn't pathetic. That's completely horrifying.
    The whole legal highs thing is just a result of prohibition, and it pretty much just shows you the fallacy of the whole system. You've got governments who are now trying to ban every new chemical that has a psychoactive effect as they come into the country, excluding alcohol, nicotine and caffeine of course. The people who formulate these things in labs in the far east are coming up with new chemicals far faster than any bloated bureaucratic system of governance could ever hope to ban. Yet they still try to do it, because they have pressure being put on them by the media who won't back them in their next election campaign otherwise; the banks who can put billions of dollars worth of laundered drug money into their vaults to loan out to you at extortionate rates; prison contractors, who are paid millions in overpriced contracts to build and run new prisons for a massive amount of profit, leading to pressure on the government to increase the number of crimes and arrest rates so the demand for prison places becomes much higher, and the list just goes on. The media then try to put people off the scent of what is really going on by publishing articles suggesting that drug use is far more dangerous than it actually is, and blaming the problems that have arisen as a result of prohibition, the artificially inflated price of drugs and unemployment of recreational drug users because of media bigotry leading to acquisitive crime, the criminal organisations that have grown up to meet the multi-billion demand for drugs and the extremely poor quality product that is created by these criminal enterprises who are more bothered about making money than the quality of the product, on the drugs themselves! The whole thing is geared against poor people and ethnic minorities. You are far more likely to get sent to prison for crack, heroin or meth (drugs that poor people use), as opposed to powdered cocaine or the like. As someone has already mentioned, you don't get prosecuted for checking into rehab. If you're rich, you've got nothing to worry about. Investment bankers and celebrities are using drugs at least as much as those in poorer communities (probably more, since they can afford it and are less likely to overdose on higher-quality products) and yet, it's the poor people who are sent to jail. Tl;DR, no, they shouldn't be banned at festivals. Legal highs and the deaths associated with them wouldn't even exist if the drugs we already know a lot about weren't criminalised. We're not schoolchildren. It should be up to us what we decide to put in our own bodies.
    I personally like the idea that if any festival is all ages, there should be a designated drug area for legal drugs. They do it in Australia and it helps security and medics keep things together. Of course it doesn't have a 100% success rate, but it's done well at all the festivals I've been to, and I'm under 18 still. You can see how good it works just by being in a mosh, nobody drinks and the drunks are being monitored, but not so close that they still can't enjoy themselves
    Should: no. Will?: Yes. One word, liability.
    This really is the main reasons festivals, concert venues, etc would wanna ban things. You can blame it on stupid people who make the mistakes or the lawyers who wanna make money, but in the end, the reason we have so many restrictions on everything is cuz people will get sued/ held responsible for idiots ruining things for all the people who have even a small amount of intelligence.
    Well Illegal highs are banned at festival and me and my friends still managed to get one ounce of hash and one ounce of weed into Download festival and an ounce of weed into Sonisphere. If they couldn't catch us with two ounces of illegal drugs then I don't think the legal highs would be any different. This crap, like many other stupid and dangerous drugs, is a product of prohibition. People wouldn't do shitty legal highs, or even gross impure illegal drugs like meth (poor man's coke) or heroin (opium for suicidal idiots) if they had safer legal alternatives. Not likely to see an end to it though, organised criminals make too much money off the junk, they've got the most interest in maintaining the framework of prohibition, afterall they're making billions of dollars per annum untaxed and are in no way obliged to pay or treat their employees fairly. Every Fortune 500 company's wet dream.
    Legal highs should be illegal highs. Two local young men (25 and 16) died after taking a legal high. Highs should be illegal. No alternative.
    Does that include alcohol and caffeine then? Plenty of people have died from both of those substances.
    It's so easy to get the 'real' stuff, illegal drugs at festivals I almost find it encouraged. And for good reason, legal highs are less potent or so bad for you they really **** up your body. I don't think legal highs should be banned though just because they help promote a drug culture at festivals that makes the experience so much better.
    Sure, ban them at festivals so they don't ruin anyone else's good time. Otherwise, let the idiots weed themselves out.
    Weed is an illegal high though.
    Washington State and Colorado legalized them within the past year.
    They're still technically illegal through US federal law, so none of those states can do anything yet. Ah, the US legal system, always doing its best job to be confusing.
    right prescription drug are wonderful for you that why theres all the "have you or a loved one suffered from (insert problem) after taking (insert prescription drug)" commercials.There is also plenty of studies show positive effect from the use of marijuana and practical uses such as in PDTSD patient to subside traumatic memories . im just going to skip meth and heroine because they are already prescribed widely. meth includes ecstasy aka methyl dextrose meth amphetamine (MDMA). on top of all the people do drugs to escape reality that they are trapped in whether it be being in a dead end job because they had to drop out of school at 15 to take care of their sibling because the mother was a crack head or what ever their particular personal dilemma is. the drug being illegal or legal have no grounds on the crime supposedly surrounding them people steal rob and do drug because they arent making enough money else where to enjoy life.
    Legal highs are part of the festival experience for me. The illegal ones are way too expensive to buy enough to last a whole weekend.
    Keep the status quo, I guess? Banning it outright would infuriate some folks, and completely decriminalizing drugs is stupid and shortsighted. What we really need to be doing is tackling the reasons people get on drugs in the first place. If people no longer wanted to be on drugs, that would solve the drug problem.
    This reminds me of the episode of Peep Show where Super Hans tries to get high at a Christian festival by jumping up and down, thus getting a head rush. "It's the best high of all, and it's completely free and God friendly!"