AN interactive online film for teenagers which highlights the dangers of so-called “legal highs” has been launched by police and other authorities.
Children as young as 12 have been hospitalised after taking new psychoactive substances (NPS), which are sold over the counter but with packaging saying “not for human consumption”.
The new film will be available to every secondary school in Scotland as part of a drive to educate youngsters about the risks associated with taking NPS and alcohol.
The online film allows young people to be in control of the film’s narrative by making a choice from a range of different scenarios, all based around the issue of NPS and alcohol, each with different conclusions.
Detective Inspector Michael Miller said: “It’s become clear that officers are spending an increasing amount of time dealing with the diverse issues brought on by new psychoactive substances as the trend to take them escalates.
“It horrifies me that young people willingly take a substance without knowing what it contains or the effects it will have.
“We’re aware that young people as young as 12, 13 and 14 are taking these substances, with some taking unwell and being hospitalised.
“Officers are coming across incidents of anti-social behaviour, street robberies and intravenous drug use on the back of taking NPS, in addition to the significant health risks they pose and their potential to destroy families and friendships.
“There is a myth that ‘legal high’ means that they’re safe to take and that simply couldn’t be further from the truth.
“Despite being sold over the counter with packaging saying ‘not for human consumption’, there have been occasions where people have become seriously ill.
“This film aims to separate the fact from the fiction and provide young people with information which helps them make healthy and informed choices.”
The film is the latest Choices For Life tool devised by Police Scotland’s Safer Communities team in conjunction with Young Scot and the Scottish Government to educate and inform young people so that they can make positive lifestyle choices.
Paul Wheelhouse, minister for community safety and legal affairs, said: “The dangers of new psychoactive substances presents a ticking timebomb for our health, justice and third sector organisations right across Scotland, which is why this government is doing all it can to tackle them.
“Drug misuse amongst young people is falling but we cannot be complacent.
“Children need to be aware of the huge dangers these so-called ‘legal highs’, which are in fact not legally saleable for human consumption, pose to their health and well-being, and the Scottish Government has so far provided almost £4 million of funding for ‘Choices for Life’.”