“Dangerous and unpredictable” recreational drugs are on sale over the counter on the high street in Truro.
Police and trading standards officers from Cornwall Council warned people to be wary of buying so-called legal highs which could have dire consequences.
The West Briton discovered a shop in Truro was selling products which would be classed as legal highs.
An initial investigation by police and trading standards found a variety of substances were contained within legal highs, but with many ingredients not listed on the packaging, officers voiced concerns that customers did not know what they were taking.
Elizabeth Kirk, senior trading standards officer, said: “The increase in the use of so-called legal highs is of great concern, as these substances are as easily abused as illegal drugs, and unfortunately many users think that because they are legal, they are safe.
“Although all the samples tested on this occasion only contain drugs that are legal on the open market in the UK, many of them are illegal in other countries.”
Trading standards said legal highs were often given trade names which were a play on words with reference to illegal drugs and drug taking, leaving consumption open to confusion and misinterpretation.
The West Briton visited a shop in Truro and, posing as an interested shopper, asked about legal highs.
The drug cocaine is known as Charlie in street slang and the West Briton reporter was pointed in the direction of 1gm packets of Charly Sheen and packets of Go Gain and Ching that were marked “not fit for human consumption”.
The shop manager said the packets contained white powder and the back of the packet listed medical warnings for people who came into contact with the product.
The manager said he sold “lots” of Go Gain and Ching with customers who tried Charly Sheen coming back for more.
He added the shop sold “loads” of Eclipse, a 3gm packet of “herbal incense”.
The West Briton later contacted the shop to ask about selling legal highs in the light of a public health warning but the manager declined to comment.
Councillor Geoff Brown, Cornwall Council Cabinet member for homes and communities, said: “Legal highs can carry serious health risks. Just the fact that a substance is sold as legal to possess, doesn’t mean it’s safe.
“You can’t really be sure what’s in a legal high or what effect it’s likely to have on you. I would urge people not to put themselves at risk and never mix alcohol with legal or other substances as the effects can be unpredictable and dangerous.”