DEATHS linked to legal highs could surpass those related to heroin use within just two years, a new report by a think-tank will say.
The Centre for Social Justice is to release a report this week calling for more to be done to combat the drugs, known as New Psychoactive Substances, while also calling for a "treatment tax" on alcohol.
Legal highs were linked to 97 deaths in 2012 and hospital admissions rose by 56 percent between 2009 and 2012, according to new CSJ data.
The think-tank estimates that on current trends deaths related to legal highs could be higher than heroin by 2016, at around 400 deaths a year.
Drugs such as meow meow and Benzo Fury have been outlawed by the Government but other substances, such as alpha-methyltryptamine are still legal and new drugs flood the market quicker than they can be banned.
"Addiction rips into families, makes communities less safe and entrenches poverty," said Centre for Social Justice director Christian Guy. "For years full recovery has been the preserve of the wealthy - closed off to the poorest people and to those with problems who need to rely on a public system. We want to break this injustice wide open."