LONDON, September 27, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --
The only British charity dedicated to raising awareness of legal highs, the Angelus Foundation, has carried out a snapshot survey of fresher students, which found 19% admitted to taking a legal high. Other findings included: over a third (36%) had been offered a legal high and three out five (61%) had a friend who had taken one.
The survey was conducted last week in a University in southern England. Angelus has been engaging with students at the Freshers' Fairs, showing them information films and making them more aware of the harms and unpredictability of substances such as Clockwork Orange, Pink Panther and AMT.
Last year, there were 81 new legal psychoactive substances identified across EU.
The Crime Survey of England and Wales 2013/4 showed 7.6% or 16-24 year olds had taken nitrous oxide in the last year (this figure is likely to be an underestimate as it does not include student halls of residence).
The UN Office and Drugs and Crime estimates the numbers of young people in UK (aged 15-24) who have taken a legal high as 670,000 - making us the highest consumers in Europe. As well as loss of life, these substances can cause heart attacks, strokes, organ damage from overheating, psychosis, paranoia and deep depression.
Angelus contributed to the Home Office review on restricting the supply of legal highs and disseminating public information around their physical and mental health harms. The review is expected to be published in the next few weeks.
Maryon Stewart said, "There is no group more vulnerable to exposure to legal highs than students. Naturally, many take the opportunity to try new experiences and our survey shows one in four have already taken a legal high; their prevalence appears to be rife. This revelation will be deeply worrying to many thousands of parents. These substances can have highly unpredictable affects and are marketed with little regard for the serious damage they may inflict. Young people and parents alike should arm themselves with information on these dangerous substances. It could easily prevent further needless deaths and preserve the mental well-being of young people in the wider world."
Notes to editors:
- Maryon Stewart lost her daughter to GBL and established the Angelus Foundation. It is the only drugs charity dedicated to combating legal highs and club drugs and has previously launched a national campaign including the website http://www.whynotfindout.org. There is also a site for families http://www.angelusfoundation.com.
- The snapshot survey was taken in September 2014 at a University in southern England and included views from 132 respondents.
- The Angelus Foundation has published a guide for parents called 'Raising Awareness of the Dangers of Legal Highs and Club Drugs'. It was written in conjunction with Adfam and the Club Drug Clinic and is available as a free download from the Angelus Foundation website.
SOURCE Angelus Foundation