From DrugScope’s latest Members Briefing:
Devon-based Children’s Society projects are concerned about an increase in the availability of these [legal highs] substances and the use of them by young people in their area. This increase in use has been mirrored by recent articles in national press and sector publications, putting forward a range of limited research and anecdotal evidence – with particular attention paid to a few users who have experienced sometimes lethal side effects.
Steven Hawker, Young People’s Drug and Alcohol Worker at The Children’s Society Checkpoint project in Torquay, expressed concern about the way young people view these drugs and the way professionals communicate about them. “While we feel there is some advantage in highlighting specific risks and effects of individual legal highs, it concerns me there is very little literature highlighting the general risks of these substances”, he said. “Of particular concern are inexperienced substance users who may take the view that legal equals safe and that this may impact on them consuming potentially large amounts of stimulants or hallucinogens.”
The Children’s Society would be interested if any organisation has:
- produced any awareness campaigns in their area
- seen significant rises in use
- become aware of specific negative effects of particular drugs.
The Children’s Society would also welcome any thoughts on how young people should be made aware of the potential risks of legal highs, particularly substances where research into the risks of short and long-term use is limited.
The DrugScope briefing has the contact details for the Children’s Society.