The team recognises that this issue affects young people and are working closely with young person’s substance misuse service, Compass Warwickshire, to reinforce the message that just because it’s legal – doesn’t mean it’s safe.
Legal highs are drugs which mimic, or are claimed to mimic, the effect of illegal drugs or synthetic substances. There is a common but mistaken perception that because legal highs are not legally controlled or banned they are safe.
To avoid legislation ‘legal highs’ are often marketed as: ‘Not for human consumption’ and may be described as ‘plant food’ or ‘bath crystals’. They are commonly labelled as ‘research chemicals’ and no safety data or list of ingredients is supplied.
According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) the UK has the largest market for so-called ‘legal highs’ in the European Union.
A total of 670,000 Britons aged 15-24 have experimented with the substances at least once, it says in its 2013 World Drug Report.
Joint Commissioning Manager for Young Person’s Substance Misuse Will Johnston said:
“Legal highs have not been tested for safety and pose unforeseen health challenges. They are sold openly on the high street and over the Internet, and described innocuously as bath salts or plant food, so people can be misled into believing that they are indulging in fun without risk.”
The Drug and Alcohol Action Team are working with Compass Warwickshire and The Recovery Partnership to make young people at Warwickshire schools and colleges aware of the dangers of legal highs. A range of resources have been developed as part of the campaign including posters, z-cards and a scratch cards.
To request resources or for further information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01926 412261.
Information about ‘legal highs’, other drugs and wider community safety issues go to www.warwickshire.gov.uk/drugs