Angelus - Keeping Young People Safe

Parents want to keep their children safe. That is simply one of the strongest instincts. There are all manner of ways you might achieve it but understanding the scale of the risk is a vital component.

Most parents can speak to their children about alcohol, how to avoid pregnancy. These conversations tend to just happen without planning or making it a lecture. Drugs are a slightly different issue, partly because many are illegal and part because some are linked to extreme harms. Drugs cause a greater problem in being honest, there can be a stigma about them and fears can be exaggerated by rumours.

So when a set of new legal drugs became available then parents can feel even more helpless. They are hamstrung by a lack of knowledge. But their instinct to protect is unchanged. One way of filling that gap and overcoming the sense of foreboding is to learn much more about this new phenomenon. Then you would understand the risk better and be more confident to share a conversation with your child about it.

Angelus can help. We are dedicated to raising awareness to young people about the harms from legal highs also known as new psychoactive substances (NPS). We have a separate website www.wnfo.org.uk which contains short films, stories and plenty of information.

This Angelus Foundation website is more aimed at parents, guardians and grandparents. You can get a free downloaded booklet with clear information and suggestions on safety. Or you could just suggest your child takes a look at the www.wnfo.org.uk website and ask what they think of it.

Our approach is to let young people work out the risk for themselves. To make them pause to wonder whether something that looks low risk is actually more dangerous than it first appears. Attempting to impose fear on young people is not an effective way of affecting their behaviour for the better.

Angelus has also been lobbying Government to take action against the easy availability of these substances. The Psychoactive Substances Act came into force in May 2016 and substantially reduced the market for legal highs/NPS. But it cannot be expected to eradiate it. There is still a vital need for education and public awareness to help keep young people safe from these the harmful substances.