Handbook for Hampshire parents on how to persuade teenagers not to take "legal highs"

Daily Echo: Adam Hunt Adam Hunt

PARENTS in Hampshire are being urged to study new advice on how to persuade teenagers from taking “legal highs”.

Charities have published a handbook packed with information and advice about the potentially-lethal substances following a spate of deaths across the UK.

Experts say young people are often fooled into thinking the drugs are safe because they are not illegal.

The Daily Echo’s Say No to Legal Highs campaign is calling for tougher laws and licensing rules for selling the drugs.

It was launched after toxic substances claimed the lives of several young people in Hampshire and left others seriously ill.

Victims include Adam Hunt, 18, of Southampton, who died in hospital after consuming alpha methyltrptamine (AMT) and etizolam.

Trainee doctor Doug Ferguson, 19, of Chandler’s Ford, died after taking legal highs last year.

The substances mimic the effects of illegal drugs such as Ecstasy and cocaine but are not controlled under the Misuse of Drugs Act.

As reported in the Daily Echo, Hampshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Simon Hayes, is urging the Government to get tough on shopkeepers selling legal highs.

Campaigners in the New Forest are also backing attempts to cut the death toll.

The Safer New Forest Partnership (SNFP) is urging parents to study the new handbook, which aims to help them discuss drug use with their children.

It has been published by The Angelus Foundation, a charity dedicated to reducing the dangers to young people caused by legal highs, the ADFAM charity, which helps families with drugs and alcohol issues, and the Drugs Clinic at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital.

The handbook directs young people to a website that informs them about legal highs and their toxicity.

Cllr Jill Cleary, New Forest District Council’s Cabinet member for communities, is urging parents to obtain as much information as they can.

“If they can have informed conversations about legal highs with their children, it will help young people make the right decisions and can potentially save lives,” she said.

“I hope parents and carers of teenage children, in particular, will read the handbook and get the facts about legal highs, which many people know little about.

“It could stop your child from experimenting with these drugs.”

l The SNFP website, safer.newforest.gov.uk, features a link to the new handbook.

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