LONDON, October 19, 2015 /PRNewswire/ --
Angelus, the only UK charity dedicated to raising awareness of the risks from 'legal highs', welcomed today's 2nd Reading of the Psychoactive Substances Bill. Angelus has also made clear the law alone would not work; proper drugs education is vital to alert young people of the risks of taking 'legal highs'.
The proposed legal change, to be debated in the House of Commons this evening, should effectively shut down the high street trade in 'legal highs'. Angelus surveys have shown a deeply concerning level of experimentation with 'legal highs' - 13.6% of 14-18 year old school students and 19% of University Freshers had tried one.
Angelus supports a much greater commitment from central and local Government, schools and universities, to giving the education, which young people need to stay safe from these unpredictable substances.
Chief Executive of Angelus, Jan King said, "We need drugs education as much as the 'legal highs' ban. There remains a considerable gap around education on drugs for young people, in and out of school. Currently only 15% of schools teach drugs and alcohol education for one hour or more per term (Mentor figures). This should be the minimum standard for all schools. So much more could be done by the Department for Education to help schools inform teenagers about legal highs and other drugs. We also need to get effective preventative messages to young people's through all kinds of social media.
"The Government's ban will do half the job but people can't be expected to fully understand the dangers just by a change in the law. They need to be taught about the risks, and how to stay safe. "
Notes to editors:
1. Maryon Stewart lost her 21 year old daughter, Hester, to GBL in 2009 and established the Angelus Foundation. It is the only drugs charity dedicated to combating legal highs and club drugs. Angelus previously launched a national campaign including the website http://www.whynotfindout.org which includes several films informing young people about how to stay safe. There is also a site for families http://www.angelusfoundation.org.uk where parents can download a free guide to 'Legal Highs' and how to speak to their children about them.
2. The Psychoactive Substances Bill receives its Second Reading in the House of Commons this evening. The Bill will impose a blanket ban on 'legal highs' and will disrupt the market considerably.
3. Angelus has produced several films making young people more aware of the harms and unpredictability of substances such as Gogaine, Clockwork Orange, Pink Panther and Charley Sheen. Their schools film has been shown to strongly influence attitudes - 95% of those who viewed it away from trying 'legal highs'.
SOURCE Angelus Foundation