31st July 2014, 8:32am  (updated 31st July 2014, 9:26am)
Legal highs research will feature on Channel 4
Dr Mark Baron and Dr Dawn A team of chemists from the University of Lincoln, UK, will be showcasing their unique testing methods to identify substances in ‘legal highs’ in an upcoming episode of Channel 4’s Embarrassing Bodies.

A research group from the School of Chemistry at Lincoln is at the forefront of research in the investigation of ‘legal highs’ having developed methods for quick and conclusive analysis.  

This high-tech research will be explained in an episode to be aired at 9pm on Thursday, 31st July.

Dr Mark Baron, Mathieu Elie and Leonie Elie, from the School of Chemistry, were interviewed by Dr Dawn Harper who visited the University earlier this year.

Dr Mark Baron said: “The increase in the use of legal high products is a serious public health issue and so this was an excellent opportunity to support Dr Dawn and Embarrassing Bodies in informing the public about the risks of taking legal highs. We identified the active drug substances in a number of products and this information will be presented in the programme.”

New synthetic drug substances are constantly being spread via the internet and the group has developed a fast analysis method to identify the active ingredients rapidly.

The group has been analysing internet-purchased products for a number of years and has found that the colourful printed foil sachets sometimes don’t contain the advertised ingredient, and can also be heavily cut with other substances. By identifying what is actually in a product, medical experts can make assumptions about the danger of so-called ‘legal highs’.

The popular Embarrassing Bodies programme is now in its eighth series, with doctors Dawn Harper, Pixie McKenna and Christian Jessen offering innovative ways to raise health awareness and de-stigmatise 'embarrassing' body parts and medical conditions.
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