Angelus has publicly declared its general support for the Psychoactive Substances Bill currently at Committee stage in the House of Lords. We consider the inexorable growth of headshop on the High Street to be unsustainable and encouraging dangerous experimentation by young people with legal highs leading to medical accidents.
But all Bills can be improved by amendments and there are a great many to be considered on 23 and 30 June. The most important relate to drugs education and raising awareness of legal highs more generally. There is no point in making new laws on the supply of substances if you don’t simultaneously educate the public of their risks and harms.
Amendment (104, Lords Rosser and Tunnicliffe) would commit the Sec of State to “establish a scheme to promote public awareness of new psychoactive substances”. There are other education amendments (13, Baroness Meacher, Lords Howarth and Norton) which should be supported. “The Secretary of State shall require that all children of secondary school age receive education designed to teach them about the realities of psychoactive substances (whether controlled or otherwise) and develop them as persons who are informed, risk-aware, resilient and responsible in
relation to psychoactive substances.”
Generally, there has been insufficient commitment to drugs education in recent years, this legislation is an opportunity for the Department of Education to lend its support for all schools to carry out at least one hours drug education per term.