As a blanket ban on psychoactive substances moves closer, the Home Office’s legal highs lab have been visited.
“You’ve absolutely no idea what you’re getting with these things,” government scientist Audrey Smith says as she taps out some powder from a small glossy packet. “Even within the same head shop [a store selling drug paraphernalia], the same packets contain different things. The main drug they’re advertising tends to be in there, but there’ll be a couple of other drugs, some cutting agents. We see some utterly random things that I don’t know are meant to be in there or are in there by accident.”