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Time to Measure the Harms of Legal Highs says Angelus Foundation

LONDON, February 11, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --

Angelus, UK's lead legal highs charity, has called upon the Government to measure the harms as part of its review into legal highs. This demand follows the publication of National Programme on Substance Abuse Deaths (NPSAD) report which shows 'legal highs' are now "linked to more drug-related deaths than ever before." The review announced in December, intends to identify a legal change, which would prevent 'legal highs' from being sold in high street headshops. Angelus is calling for a much wider campaign of public health awareness and a comprehensive study into the scale of the harms from these substances.

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, long-term psychosis, paranoia and deep depression.

Angelus is the only charity dedicated to raising awareness of legal highs and club drugs through films like Not what it says on the Tin.. Angelus has launched a free parents' handbook 'Talking to your Children about legal highs and club drugs', in partnership with the charity Adfam and the Club Drug Clinic, which can be downloaded.

The founder of Angelus, Maryon Stewart said: "The National Programme on Substance Abuse Deaths report is yet more evidence that the harms from these substances is growing inexorably. It is absolutely critical that there is a proper assessment of the full scale of harms from 'legal highs'. These figures are truly horrifying: behind each of the 97 deaths is a family torn apart. There are probably hundreds more who suffer life-changing trauma. The Angelus Foundation is leading the way in educating young people and their parents. The recently announced Home Office Review announced by Drugs Minister, Norman Baker, is an excellent opportunity to measure the harms properly and then communicate vital health messages to the public. "

Notes to Editors:

1) The author and broadcaster Maryon Stewart lost her 21-year-old daughter, Hester, to GBL in 2009 and established the Angelus Foundation. It is the only charity dedicated to combating legal highs and club drugs and in 2012 launched a national campaign including the website http://www.whynotfindout.org. There is also a site for families http://www.angelusfoundation.com.

2) The National Programme on Substance Abuse Deaths (NPSAD) report published today, shows the prevalence of these drug in the post mortem toxicology tests has increased from 12 in 2009 to 97 in 2012, almost 800%.

3) Drugs Minister Norman Baker announced a review of 'legal highs' in December to stop the easy access of these substances through high street sales in headshops.

4) The Angelus parents booklet, produced in partnership with Adfam and the Club Drug Clinic sets out the context of legal highs and how to hold conversations with young people about them. It can be downloaded for free at http://www.angelusfoundation.org/parents.

If you wish to interview Maryon Stewart, please contact:

Liz Field at the Angelus Foundation:
E: [email protected] or [email protected]
T: +44(0)845-1771070
Twitter: @angelustweets


Twitter: @whynotfindout
The Angelus Foundation is a UK registered charity
Registered in England and Wales no. 1139830

SOURCE Angelus Foundation

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