CHILDREN as young as ten should be taught about the dangers of legal highs.
That is the message from one of Prime Minister David Cameron’s health advisors who is urging schools to provide more lessons warning them about the killer drugs.
And civic chiefs in Southampton are also backing the plans.
It is a huge boost for the Daily Echo’s campaign against legal highs which have claimed the lives of three Hampshire people since 2012.
Prof Simon Gibbons, a member of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, said there was “not enough information” on drug education at primary school level.
The University College London professor, who is chairman of the council’s sub-committee on legal highs, added he wanted the Department of Education to get involved.
Labour councillor Dave Shields, Cabinet member for health, said: “This sounds like a sensible suggestion. My feeling is we should be educating children so they can make the right decisions and are aware of all the issues surrounding these.
“We need to make sure this is properly taught by people who are skilled and do not glamourise these drugs which is what can happen in schools sometimes. But certainly in Southampton I would hope schools will embrace this idea.”
Cllr Jeremy Moulton, Tory spokesman for children’s services, added: “Legal highs are a growing problem for the city and I think it’s right that children are taught as much as possible about them.
“I think it’s something that should be up to the schools, governors and heads but it’s a danger in the city and I would support the council expressing a view that it’s something schools should take on board.”
Schools are required by law to cover the harmful effects of drugs on behaviour and health as part of the national science curriculum.
And a new national curriculum to be introduced in September says that pupils in Year 6 at primary school – aged 10 or 11 – must be taught to “recognise the impact of diet, exercise and drugs and lifestyle on the way their bodies function”.
The Daily Echo launched its Say No To Legal Highs campaign last October following the deaths of three people from Hampshire since 2012.
Schoolboy Adam Hunt, from Millbrook, died last August in hospital five days after falling seriously ill after taking AMT and etizolam.
Trainee doctor Doug Ferguson, 19, from Chandler’s Ford, died after taking AMT in June 2012, while married father William Nutter, 32, from Andover, died after consuming AMT the following month.