SCHOOLS are being taught the dangers of legal highs in a bid to deter pupils from taking the lethal substances.
As part of its own ‘lethal highs, fatal lows’ awareness campaign this month, Portsmouth City Council is running training sessions and holding special assemblies to educate staff and students.
Erika Anders, assistant headteacher of Mayfield School, in North End, which has hosted a legal highs awareness assembly, said real-life situations presented by the council ‘struck a chord’ with the students – and was a real eye opener for the staff.
She said: ‘For me, one of the things I found was, a lot of the staff seemed to be unaware of what a legal high is.
‘In my position, I know about it, yet for some of the staff were unaware these legal highs are out there and the effects they have on people.’
Ms Anders added: ‘Over the past few months, the awareness has been greater in the local and national news, there have been some serious cases where people have lost their lives through taking legal highs.
‘So it’s good the council is being positive and getting into schools, to deliver the message to the students.’
Portsmouth’s Tory environment and community safety boss, Councillor Rob New, said: ‘Many young people mistakenly think that because the substance is legal it is safe.
‘By taking legal highs, young people are risking their health as they can never be sure what they are getting or how it will affect them as an individual.
‘I’m pleased that we have a campaign solely focused on new psychoactive substances launching in Portsmouth.
‘The key message of the campaign that we want to get across to young people is that – just because it’s not illegal doesn’t mean it’s safe.’