Last updated on April 24, 2014 at 17:35 EDT

Angelus Welcomes ITV Tonight’s “Blowing the Lid” on Legal Highs Industry

October 16, 2013

LONDON, October 17, 2013 /PRNewswire/ –

The Angelus Foundation welcomes the broadcast of the ITV Tonight programme ‘Dying to
get High’ on Thursday 17 October, highlighting the horrors the epidemic of legal highs
presents to families throughout the UK. This expose will leave parents under no illusion
that their young are in serious danger of being robbed of their mental wellbeing; and
potentially even their lives.

Experimenting with legal highs has, in many places, become part of youth culture. Last
year, in England and Wales, there were 52 deaths from legal highs, compared to 29 the
previous year, and a further 47 in Scotland. The UN Office on Drugs and Crime last month
estimated the numbers of young people in the UK (aged 15-24) who have taken a legal high
as 670,000 – making us the highest consumers in Europe. As well as loss of life, these
substances can cause anything from long-term psychosis, paranoia, deep depression,
irreparable bladder damage and impaired eyesight.

Angelus is the only charity dedicated to raising awareness of legal highs and club
drugs. Today, Angelus is able to help the deep concerns of parents by launching the free
handbook ‘Talking to your Children about legal highs and club drugs’, in partnership with
the charity Adfam and the Club Drug Clinic, which can be downloaded
[http://www.angelusfoundation.org/parents ]. Without adequate knowledge, parents are in the
dark about the signs to look out for and are unable to have informed conversations with
their children, to keep them safe.

‘Dying to get High’ shows how the same product can contain a wide variety of
ingredients with wildly differing effects and potential harms. It also shows retail
‘headshop owners” reckless attitude to their customers – they are able to evade
prosecution by labelling their products ‘Not for Human Consumption’ when clearly that is
their purpose. As fast as they are banned, chemists tweak the molecules and launch new

The founder of Angelus, Maryon Stewart said: “The Government keeps congratulating
itself on how well its drug strategy is working. They are conveniently ignoring the
massive increased use of legal highs and are complacent about their impact on young
peoples’ lives. These hideous substances that masquerade as legal are instead often a
cocktail of Class B drugs and toxic chemicals, leaving young people often playing Russian
roulette with their lives.”

“We know the UK has the highest population of people taking legal highs in Europe,
that there has been a huge increase in shops and websites selling these dangerous,
unpredictable substances and that our children have never been at a greater risk of harm.
Yet the Government resists any action against their supply and refuses to take
responsibility for raising awareness. The ITV Tonight programme is blowing the lid on the
whole industry. They have done every parent a service by exposing this pernicious trade
for what it is: exploitative and dangerous.” said Maryon.

Notes to Editors:

1) The author and broadcaster Maryon Stewart lost her 21-year-old daughter, Hester, to
GBL in 2009 and established the Angelus Foundation. It is the only drugs charity dedicated
to combating legal highs and club drugs and launched a national campaign in October,
including the website http://www.whynotfindout.org. There is also a site for families:


2) The ITV Tonight programme ‘Dying To Get High’ is to be broadcast Thursday 17th
October 7:30pm to 8:00pm. “An investigation into the world of legal highs – chemicals
designed to mimic the effects of drugs such as ecstasy, cocaine and cannabis – that are
widely available on our high streets across the UK. They arrived on the scene in 2008 and
their popularity has grown rapidly with up to 700,000 young people thought to have
experimented with them. Last year more than fifty deaths were linked to so-called legal
highs as the lawmakers struggle to keep up with manufacturers and suppliers, many of whom
are exploiting the legal loopholes. Fiona Foster talks to a bereaved mother whose daughter
died after taking a legal high.”

3) The Angelus parents booklet, produced in partnership with Adfam and the Club Drug
Clinic, sets out the context of legal highs and how to hold conversations with young
people about them. A Mentor survey showed 58% of 11-15 year olds looked to their parents
for advice on drug matters. It can be downloaded for free at
http://www.angelusfoundation.org/parents .

4) The UN Office on Drugs and Crime last month estimated the numbers of young people
in the UK (aged 15-24) who have taken a legal high as 670,000 (or 8.2 percent) – the
highest in Europe.


        Twitter: @maryonstewart


        Twitter: @angelustweets


        Twitter: @whynotfindout

        The Angelus Foundation is a UK registered charity
        Registered in England and Wales no. 1139830

        If you wish to interview Maryon Stewart, please contact:
        Aimee Gentry at the Angelus Foundation on:
        T: +44(0)845-1771070
        E: aimeegentry@angelusfoundation.com or contact@angelusfoundation.com

SOURCE Angelus Foundation

Source: PR Newswire