The number of deaths linked to recently-banned ‘legal highs’ has more than quadrupled in five years, according to statistics.
Deaths caused by four drugs which were previously sold openly on the streets have risen from nine in 2007 to 41 in 2011.
The drugs include one known as a “date-rape” drug (GHB).
Another drug known as “meow meow” is now a Class B drug in Britain.
There have been twelve deaths in two years linked to these kinds of drugs.
Professor Les Iverson, chairman of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, warned last week that the law was struggling to keep up with drug dealers.
He said they have created 200 dangerous synthetic drugs that are still legal.
The drugs are advertised as “plant food” or “bath salts” but carry a high risk of overdose and even death.
New figures from Scotland showed an increase in the number of children suffering the death of a parent or parental figure because of drugs.
In 2011, a total of 331 children were affected – up from 238 in 2010.
The statistics also showed that methadone, a legal substance used to treat drug addicts, was implicated in more deaths than any other drug.
It was revealed that 53.4 per cent of deaths studied involved methadone, with 38.6 per cent involving heroin or morphine.