Schools’ Programme Raises Awareness of New Psychoactive Substances

‘Just because it’s legal, doesn’t mean it’s safe’

The Welsh Government and four Police Forces of Wales’ All Wales School Liaison Core Programme are raising awareness of the dangers of New Psychoactive Substances (NPS) with an awareness week running between the 30th November and the 4th December.

New Psychoactive Substances, otherwise known as legal highs, have become a common problem across the United Kingdom in the last few years. In the response to the growing popularity of these substances, the All Wales School Liaison Core Programme has developed a lesson dedicated to helping young people understand the risks and the dangers of New Psychoactive Substances. The new Key Stage 3 lesson, ‘New and Nasty’ will be offered to secondary schools across Wales to highlight the dangers of experimenting with New Psychoactive Substances.

To support the lesson ‘New and Nasty’, the All Wales School Liaison Core Programme is launching a social media campaign comprising of six posters to encourage parents and teachers to know the dangers of New Psychoactive Substances and to help educate children by opening discussion about the risks and consequences of taking New Psychoactive Substances.

The social media campaign will lead with the following statements accompanying the posters:

  • You can’t be sure if it’s legal – it may contain illegal drugs
  • You don’t know what you are taking
  • You have no idea what the effects will be
  • You have no idea what is in a New Psychoactive Substance
  • You can’t be certain it’s safe to take
  • You don’t know how your body will react to a New Psychoactive Substance

Wales’ Deputy Health Minister, Vaughan Gething said: “I’m very pleased to support this new awareness campaign. We take the issue of people taking new psychoactive substances – so-called legal highs – very seriously. We’re supporting a range of initiatives to raise awareness, including DAN 24/7, our bilingual substance misuse helpline.

“We have ensured that the All-Wales Schools Liaison Core Programme, which operates in all primary and secondary schools across Wales, is regularly updated to include specific lessons about new psychoactive substances because of their potential impact on children and young people.

“I have been supportive of the UK Government’s proposal to introduce a blanket ban on new psychoactive substances. However, banning these substances will not work in isolation – we have introduced a number of actions to educate, raise awareness and improve our ability to respond to the emergence of new psychoactive substances.”

The new posters are supported and funded by the Police and Crime Commissioner for Gwent, Ian Johnston.

Mr Johnston said: “I hope these posters will play an important role in raising awareness about the dangers of substance abuse amongst school children and young people. We want fewer victims of crime and to protect people from serious harm and this is why I supported and provided funding for this project.

New Psychoactive Substances pose a serious threat to the health and safety of people in our communities. We want to send out the clearest possible message that these substances can be dangerous to people’s health – even fatal. These posters aim to help young people make the right choices if and when the time comes they are offered these substances.”

National Coordinator for the All Wales School Liaison Core Programme, Faith McCready says: “We hope the All Wales School Liaison Core Programme New Psychoactive Substances campaign will raise awareness of the risks associated with NPS usage. Each poster presents a key message in an innovative way and has been designed to make young people think about the possible consequences of taking these unregulated substances. We feel it is vital that young people are given accurate information so they can make informed choices.”

Throughout the week, School Community Police Officers (SCPOs) will be supporting the awareness week by delivering the Key Stage 3 lesson ‘New and Nasty’ to pupils across Wales.

Follow the campaign on Twitter @schoolbeat and show your support by using the hashtags #NPSAware / #SSNHysbys and posting a picture with our campaign board. The campaign board is available in Corporate Communications if you would like to show your support and have your picture taken with it.

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Team @ AberdareOnline

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