The UK Government is "in a Minority of One" Over Legal Highs says Angelus Foundation
LONDON, September 1, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --
A new report by the Centre for Social Justice, 'No Quick Fix' follows many others calling on the Government to act.
Maryon Stewart of the Angelus Foundation, said today the UK Government was "totally isolated" from all experts about the threat from legal highs. Her words followed the latest publication (Centre for Social Justice) to include stark warnings of the risk to young peoples' lives and well-being from new psychoactive substances (NPS).
The Centre for Social Justice said NPS represented, "a paradigm shift in the way substances are viewed and obtained." This report follows several others from a wide range of experts who have all raised deep concerns about the lack of Government action over legal highs.
The Chair of the Advisory Council, Sir Les Iversen said, "We will get unexpected and serious harm emerging with one of these compounds and then we will blame ourselves for allowing them to be sold without the usual safety data. I think this is a serious problem, it's not just a nice set of party drugs that we can let people get on with, it's a set of chemicals that are potentially very dangerous."
Chair of Home Affairs Select Committee, Rt.Hon Keith Vaz said, "A number of vital areas of drug policy have been dangerously neglected. The number of deaths from 'legal highs' is rising sharply and the temporary class drug order is a stopgap rather than a solution."
Baroness Meacher, Chair of All Party Parliamentary Group for Drug Reform said, "'Legal Highs' require reform of UK drug policy….the Misuse of Drugs Act is counter-productive in attempting to reduce drug addiction and other drug harms to young people."
The National Poisons Information Service's annual review, which was published on 30 August, said between April 2012 and March this year, phone calls to experts about 'legal highs' went up 49% (from 116 to 173). The UN Office and Drugs and Crime in July estimated the numbers of young people in UK (aged 15-24) who have taken a legal high as 670,000 - by far the highest in Europe. The Office for National Statistics report on drug-related deaths in England and Wales last week showed legal highs deaths have increased sharply from 29 in 2011 to 52 last year.
The founder of Angelus, Maryon Stewart, said: "The Centre for Social Justice's report highlights yet another highly respected organisation's deep fears over legal highs and the lack any kind of effective Government response. In the last few months, there has been a whole catalogue of reports from the widest range of drug experts all saying that not enough is being done. Yet the Government fails to accept the urgency of the situation and is effectively in a minority of one about the dangers posed by these new drugs. Ministers don't seem to realise their complacency makes them totally isolated from expert opinion."
Notes to Editors:
1) Maryon Stewart lost her daughter, Hester, to GBL in 2009 and established the Angelus Foundation. It is the only drugs charity dedicated to combating legal highs and club drugs and launched a national campaign in October including the website http://www.whynotfindout.org. There is also a site for families http://www.angelusfoundation.com.
2) The Office for National Statistics report on drug-related deaths in England and Wales last week showed legal highs deaths have increased sharply from 29 in 2011 to 52 last year.
3) The new report by Centre for Social Justice, 'No Quick Fix' was published on 1 September 2013. http://www.centreforsocialjustice.org.uk/UserStorage/pdf/Pdf%20reports/addict.pdf
4) The UN Office and Drugs and Crime last month estimated the numbers of young people in UK (aged 15-24) who have taken a legal high as 670,000 (or 8.2 percent) - the highest in Europe.
SOURCE Angelus Foundation