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Dangers of ‘legal highs’ focus for new animation

Published Wednesday 21 October 2015 at 9:36

A new animation has been produced to warn young people about the dangers of taking so-called ‘legal high’ drugs.

The animation has been produced by Blackburn with Darwen Council in partnership with Linnell Communications and two young people from the borough who felt strongly about sharing their negative experiences of using synthetic cannabinoids in an attempt to deter others from doing the same.

The Council is taking a proactive approach to raising awareness and reducing the harms of the growing nationwide issue of NPS ‘New Psychoactive Substances’ (commonly referred to as ‘legal’ or ‘harmful highs’). These substances are causing increasing concern amongst a range of health and social care professionals, youth workers, parents and the police across the UK.

The animation is aimed at young people aged between 16-25 years, as well as parents, carers and concerned others, to act as a generic warning on the dangers and negative impacts.

NPS mimic some of the effects of illegal drugs – cannabinoids, stimulants and hallucinogens – and can be as powerful. Some young people have become seriously ill after using them whilst others have got involved in anti-social behaviour, crime, problematic relationships and family disputes.

Councillor Mustafa Desai, Executive Member for Health and Adult Social Care, said:

Whilst this issue is not specific to Blackburn with Darwen, we feel it is important to take a proactive approach and raise awareness of this growing nationwide issue.

These products are labelled as being not for human consumption and can be marketed as something else, like incense, but we know people are using them – by swallowing, snorting or smoking them – to get ‘high’.

People may mistakenly believe that they are safe to use because these substances are marketed as legal and sold openly from various outlets. In fact they are untested and their effects are largely unknown, which makes them very dangerous.

The Council has also worked with Graphic Design degree students from Blackburn College on a project to design a campaign to highlight the dangers of ‘legal highs.’

One of the submissions, a leaflet titled ‘The Truth Behind the Packaging’ by student Lauren Miller, has been turned into a live project. The leaflets provide information and advice on where to seek help for young people and those who look after them. The leaflets will be going out in the community to support the launch of the animation.

To view the animation click here

If you are concerned about your or anybody else’s use of these substances please contact the local drug and alcohol prevention and recovery services:

CRI Go2 for young people on (01254) 495052 or CRI Inspire for Adults on (01254) 495014

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