LONDON, April 12, 2016 /PRNewswire/ --
Experts in legal highs are meeting in Portcullis House, Westminster tomorrow for a policy roundtable in preparation for the changes in the law contained in the Psychoactive Substances Act. The group includes recognised experts in drug testing, treatment, education, policy as well as MPs.
The purpose of the event is to draw in the best expertise to fully understand the impact that the Psychoactive Substances Act and identify ways young people and communities are kept safe from the coming changes in the drugs' landscape. The event is to be chaired by Paul Hayes who is Chief Executive of Collective Voice and former Chief Executive of the National Treatment Agency.
Angelus Chief Executive, Jan King said: "It is difficult to predict exactly how the NPS/legal highs market will evolve after the law changes, but we assume there will continue to be some volatility in the availability of and demand for these substances. Everyone needs to plan their response to minimise the overall harms to society. Angelus will be playing a full part in that process particularly around educating young people. We intend to share the findings of this important event with policy makers to better inform their decisions around NPS in the post-ban landscape. "
The aim of the Psychoactive Substances Act is to impact strongly on the supply of New Psychoactive Substances more commonly known as 'legal highs' for example the closure of hundreds of high street headshops. There are many uncertainties surrounding the outcomes of the NPS legislation, such as the overall change in prevalence and levels of harm. Recent figures from Public Health England show a marked decrease in numbers of young people seeking treatment for opiates but at the same time an upward trend for those with problems around NPS. There have been many reports showing the negative impact of NPS on people's mental health, which can be concentrated in certain communities or environments such as those involved in the criminal justice system and among the homeless.
Notes to editors:
- Angelus is the only drugs charity dedicated to combating legal highs and club drugs. Angelus previously launched a national campaign including the Whynotfindout website http://www.wnfo.org.uk which includes several films informing young people about how to stay safe. There is also a site for families http://www.angelusfoundation.org.uk.
- The Psychoactive Substances Act will become law in a few weeks time. Angelus have supported this legislation as an improvement from the free availability of legal highs in shops and online. The legislation will impose a blanket ban on 'legal highs' and will disrupt the market considerably. The overall impact remains uncertain.
- Questions to be discussed at the event include:
What is needed to keep young people and communities safe once the Act is in place?
Who needs to take this forward and how can they be supported?
What is needed for those who have used NPS and might continue to use?
How do we target approaches so that we reach those most in need?
What collaborations are needed to continue to build intelligence?
How will this feed into the Psychoactive Substances Act's 30-month review?
Is there a need for an All Party Parliamentary Group specific to NPS?
SOURCE Angelus Foundation