A campaign to inform young people about the dangers of taking ‘legal highs’ is to be launched by a Northamptonshire charity.
According to the latest figures provided by the Office for National Statistics, New Psychoactive Substances (NPS) - commonly known as legal highs - led to 52 deaths in England and Wales in 2012.
In November, Piers Massey, a consultant A&E nurse at Northampton General Hospital, told the Chronicle & Echo he had noticed a “marked increase” in the number of people going into hospital after taking legal highs that produce similar effects to illegal drugs such as cannabis, cocaine and ecstasy.
Solve It, based in Kettering, has been provided with funds by Northamptonshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Adam Simmonds, to launch an educational campaign that will help give information to both young people and their parents about the dangers of using legal highs.
Solve It chairman Kevin Shapland, said: “Government, law enforcement agencies and health professionals face real challenges because producers of these drugs are able to make small changes to the chemical compounds each a time a new psychoactive substance is controlled.
“With a pending Government review due in the spring we believe education of the dangers associated with these so called ‘legal highs’ is the only effective way of reducing harm.”
Deborah Clarke, business manager at Solve It said: “These substances can be readily purchased over the internet or in so called ‘Head Shops’ and are often labelled as ‘research chemicals’, ‘herbal incense’ or ‘not for human consumption. They may claim to be legal but they are not safe, they can kill or cause long term health consequences.”
The campaign will provide the ability to download a free smartphone app as well as a new website, while you can follow the charity on Twitter @SolveItVSA.