Tuesday, 14 October 2014

New Psychoactive Substances

New Psychoactive Substances have featured in the news and conversations a lot recently with young people and professionals alike. These substances have many different names, from ‘legal highs’ to ‘designer drugs’ or ‘research chemicals’. The labels and nicknames of the drugs change weekly and it is often difficult to keep up but the impact is still the same.
I want to discuss the individuals behind the drugs and the situations that lead them to putting themselves at risk by taking these substances. Drug taking is often, but not always, a result of a person trying to escape or cope with a situation or event. I want to understand why young people are turning to these new substances and so later this week I will be speaking to young people who have experienced legal highs to get their perspective.
Some of these young people may have been affected by crime previously; some may be forced into trying new substances, others may have done it out of curiosity.  These young people are hidden victims of crime that may need an outside perspective from someone who can give them some advice.
I am speaking to officers, young people and professionals so that I can understand the issue better and work with all these groups to see how we can reduce the risk of harm that come with these unknown substances.
Advice around the subject from exchangesupplies.org are:
1.   Know the Law – You may still be arrested if you are found with a legal high.
2.   Don’t trust suppliers – What you buy is not always what they say it is.
3.   Understand the Risks – Legal highs are just as dangerous as illegal drugs.
4.   Do your research – find out all you can before using a legal high.
5.   Don’t be a ‘drug pig’ – “you can always take more – but you can never take less”
6.   Avoid heatstroke – Stay cool when using stimulants – know what to do in an emergency.
7.   Don’t use alone – It is safer to have someone with you.
8.   A pinch is enough – A pinch of synthetic cannabis the size of a match head is an active dose.
9.   Look after your mates – In the same way you would want them to look after you.
10.    Ask for help – There are always people who can help you.