The United Kingdom is in the grips of a ‘legal high’ epidemic, use of drugs which manage to remain legal by constant tweaking of chemical structure but can be more dangerous than the illegal drug that they are supposed to mimic and in some cases more addictive too. This 2016 episode of the BBC’s Drugs Map of Britain series looks at the problem of addiction to a legal high called Black Mamba in the city of Wolverhampton.
A 27 year old addict named Liam is followed over a period of three months as he attempts to get clean from the drug. Black Mamba is a synthetic cannabis but unlike cannabis is physically addictive, and because it could be sold in corner shops was both more easily accessible and cheaper. One national newspaper declared that it was more addictive than heroin. Vice also covered the problem of legal highs in the UK in their documentary Spice Boys, which focuses on a well publicised problem of synthetic cannabinoid use by the homeless population in Manchester.