Psychoactive Substances Act: In April/May, we expect the Psychoactive Substances Act to become law and ‘legal highs’ will no longer be sold in any High Street shops. Angelus has pressed for legal change since we began so we are delighted by this strong action. Until the day arrives, when we can be confident that young people and communities are safe from the harms of new drugs, then Angelus will continue to educate young people about the risks they face. Maryon Stewart was interviewed on BBC Radio 4 regarding the need to combine the legal change with a strong programme of education about the risks of taking NPS/legal highs.
Creating a ‘Drug Aware’ Luton: We have been developing a strong partnership with Public Health in Luton on a project to make Luton a ‘Drug and NPS Aware Town’. We have some funding from Garfield Weston, Luton Council and the Wessex Charitable Trust to carry out this work. Our aim is to engage a number of local organisations, community groups and young people in a concerted awareness programme to make them resilient to ongoing changes in the drugs’ environment. We have so far engaged with Public Health, schools, Youth Offending Service, Treatment services, the University of Bedfordshire, and other local community groups.
New Schools Pack: Angelus has always placed a high priority on engaging directly with young people to get them think about the risks around NPS/legal highs. We have recently revised our pack for schools to ensure it is used at the appropriate levels of learning. We have also re-packaged and edited our schools film, now titled “Why Gamble with Your Life” presented by stand-up comic Jeff Leach.
Home Affairs Select Committee: The HASC carried out a short inquiry into how the Psychoactive Substances Act was progressing and how effective the legislation was likely to be in reducing the overall harms of NPS/legal highs. They took evidence on 15 September 2015 from Chair of ACMD, NPS Police Lead, the Drugs Minister, founder of Club Drugs Clinic and Angelus. We expressed our support for the legislation but in conjunction with a programme of preventative education. Click here for coverage on Parliament TV.
Home Office Review: Angelus has campaigned hard for a public health programme and stopping supply of these substances through the high street headshops. On 30 October, the Home Office published its review on legal highs which included commitment to both objectives. Angelus will be working with officials and MPs from all parties to ensure the report’s recommendation are delivered on.
The former Drugs Minister, Norman Baker MP said in a Parliamentary debate,” I thank Maryon Stewart and her organisation for the superb work they have done over the years to push the agenda and highlight the importance of prevention and education.”
Films: Angelus has produced the first ever education film about risks and harms from synthetic cannabis. It was made in partnership with KCA (Kent Youth Services) and was featured on BBC News.
A new comedy film, starring stand-up comic Jeff Leach, called Lab Rats was launched via social media on 12 December.
Schools Programme: Angelus continues to take its films into schools and encourage young people to complete a questionnaire, capturing both the knowledge and attitudes before and after viewing an Angelus film. After viewing the film 96% of the students state that it has put them off trying legal highs or taking them again.
Ambassadors: Television presenters Eamonn Holmes and Dr Hilary Jones have agreed to become Angelus Ambassadors and have been engaging on a new film project for parents ready to be launched in Spring 2015.
Festivals: We have worked closely with the Association of Independent Festivals and persuaded dozens of festivals (including Glastonbury) to blackout their websites on 3 May with safety information. We have also formed a close partnership with Brownstock Festival in Essex to assist with audience safety around new substances.
Yourvine: Angelus has launched an innovative learning programme with marketing experts Yourvine. The Real Deal game exposes the reckless and haphazard nature of the supply of these substances and includes key health and safety messages. Results show the game is very successful in challenging views on these substances and encouraging a more enlightened outlook to their risks. Analytics produced by Yourvine show: 81% understood legal highs were dangerous, 89% felt they had learnt something and 71% would definitely recommend it to a friend.
Angelus successfully achieved the removal of all ‘legal highs’ from Amazon UK and international websites.
Ketamine film: Angelus met with the Chair of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, Professor Les Iversen, who was about to publish a report on harms of ketamine. Angelus was invited to produce and show a film about the dangers of ketamine at the press launch. The film attracted coverage by BBC TV News at One as well as the Daily Mail.
Our young people’s website has an updated version of ‘Not What it Says on the Tin’ to reflect legal changes. Our site had over 50,000 hits in 2013 with an average visit time of over eight minutes.
Home Affairs Committee: Maryon Stewart and Jeremy Sare gave evidence to the Home Affairs Committee in November 2013 – the subsequent report paid tribute to the work of Angelus and encouraged the Government to engage with The Angelus Foundation to initiate an improved schools programme on legal highs.
University students: Angelus set up stalls on NPS awareness at Sussex University, Canterbury and King’s College London . Students were surveyed about their knowledge and experience of NPS, were shown films and were engaged with personally.
In August 2013, Angelus published a handbook for parents in conjunction with Adfam and the Club Drug Clinic. It contains basic information on legal highs and club drugs, including advice on how to hold a conversation with young people about the additional risks of these substances.
The international communications agency Leagas Delaney created a national media campaign to support Findout in 2012. On October 2012, Angelus launched the first comprehensive online resource for young people in the world dedicated to legal highs and club drugs at http://www.whynotfindout.org.
Angelus Foundation is a registered charity registered in England and Wales (Number 1139830).
Office correspondence address: 54, Commercial Street, London E1 6LT.
Telephone: 0845 177 1070 or 0203 700 7185 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org