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Information update

Health Canada reminds Canadians that "designer drugs" are dangerous and illegal

Starting date:
September 26, 2013
Posting date:
September 26, 2013
Type of communication:
Information Update
Source of recall:
Health Canada
Unauthorized products
General Public
Identification number:


Health Canada is reminding Canadians about the serious health risks associated with the use of “designer drugs”. Also referred to as “new psychoactive substances”, “ legal highs”, “herbal highs”, or “research chemicals”  - or by names such as “spice” and “bath salts” - the term “designer drugs” refers to a wide array of substances that are used recreationally for their psychoactive effects.

While the use of terms such as “legal high” and “herbal high” may lead people to think these substances are risk-free, they can be extremely dangerous and they are illegal in Canada.

The number of new psychoactive substances available on the illegal drug market continues to grow at a rapid pace in Canada and internationally.

Canadians should not purchase or consume these drugs. The health effects of these drugs can vary but may include headaches, confusion, mood changes, nausea/vomiting, extreme anxiety, hallucinations, high blood pressure, rapid or abnormal heart beat, chest pain, stroke, heart attack, liver or kidney failure, seizures, psychotic episodes, suicidal thoughts, and in some cases, death. There have also been reports of users becoming addicted to some of these substances.

Health Canada continues to work to educate Canadians on the dangers of these drugs, and will continue to work with its federal, provincial, municipal and international partners, including law enforcement, to collect information and to take action. Law enforcement is authorized to seize these substances at points of entry and from retail outlets.

Media enquiries

Health Canada

(613) 957-2983

Public enquiries

(613) 957-2991

1-866 225-0709