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Home Affairs Select Committee's Drugs Report: Angelus Condemns Government's "Negligence" on Drug Education

LONDON, December 9, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --

The Angelus Foundation today welcomed the Home Affairs Committee's (HAC) deep concerns about legal highs and condemned the Government's "negligence" over the lack of an effective programme of drug prevention and education. The Angelus Foundation 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.

The Home Affairs Select Committee report 'Breaking the Cycle' published today rightly highlights the highly worrying trend of young people taking many new substances with no knowledge of their risks. Last year, there were 49 new drugs discovered (EMCDDA figures) which was a record; this year the total could be as high as 70. At the same time, the Department of Education has cut its budget for drugs education by 80 percent. The HAC report itself refers to Government's lack of action as "dangerous."

Angelus's evidence, which is referenced throughout the HAC report, also supports the HAC recommendations for a Royal Commission and a change in the governance of drug policy from the Home Office.

The founder of the Angelus Foundation, Maryon Stewart, said: "We all have a stake in drugs policy. The Home Affairs Committee report shows drugs education has fallen off a cliff. There is no research being carried out on what works best and no monitoring of what little there is. At a time when the need to inform young people about the risks has never been higher, to not give it any priority amounts to negligence.

"The Home Office's grip on drug policy means there is not any real focus on prevention and education. We need a broader commitment to making effective policy and that means giving responsibility to other departments and agencies. We cannot just sit by and allow young people to get into trouble with this wave of new drugs and potentially play Russian Roulette with their wellbeing and even their lives."

Notes to editors:

1) Angelus evidence is referenced in the HAC report 'Breaking the Cycle' in para 5 (club drugs clinic), para 7 (drugs education), para 128 (review the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971), para 165 (Temporary Drug Orders) and para 182 (Inter-ministerial Group on Drugs).

2) The Angelus Foundation maintains there is almost no guidance or resources given by the Department of Education to schools and universities to give young people information about drugs, particularly legal highs. In March this year the Home Secretary's set out the priorities for drug policy to the Chair of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs and did not mention education or prevention.

3) Figures show that spending on drugs education - including information services - has fallen from £3.9m in 2009-10 to £0.5m in 2010-11.

4) The Angelus Foundation 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 http://www.angelusfoundation.com.

If you wish to interview Maryon Stewart, please contact:

Ally Gill at the Angelus Foundation on
T: +44(0)8451771070
M: +44(0)7973-713139
E: allygill@angelusfoundation.com


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