Son ‘wrecked’ on legal highs

Over 35 people attended the public meeting on Monday night. Pictured are members of the panel - Derek Wann, Martin Fair, Thane Lawrie and Ali Thornton.
Over 35 people attended the public meeting on Monday night. Pictured are members of the panel - Derek Wann, Martin Fair, Thane Lawrie and Ali Thornton.

Worried parents and local people voiced their concerns about so called ‘legal highs’ at a public meeting in Arbroath on Monday night.

The meeting in the CAFE Project, organised by the steering group Arbroath Against Legal Highs, saw over 30 attendees speak out over the safety of these substances.

In particular, one lady who became very emotional claimed her son is ‘wrecked’ on legal highs, leading it to affecting both his physical and mental well-being.

While another man also described a similar situation with his son, who he said also takes these substances.

The event was chaired by the Reverend Martin Fair, who has been vocal on the issue and included speakers Derek Wann from the steering group, Thane Lawrie from Angus Drugs and Alcohol Partnership and Ali Thornton from CAIR Scotland, also known locally as the Web Project.

And addressing the meeting the Reverend Fair said: “Interest and concern in this is widespread right across the whole community in Arbroath.

“A steering group was brought into being so we can address these concerns.”

The meeting was also told the group were in the process of writing to every MSP in the country about the situation in a bid to gain their support for a change in legislation.

In addition Arbroath councillor David Fairweather said he would be working with the council on the concerns surrounding legal highs.

He told the meeting: “I will be putting a motion forward at the next full council meeting, which could give the opportunity for our chief executive to write to the Westminster and Scottish governments about prohibiting the sale of these substances.

“And hopefully that will be a start and a help.”

Another point that was raised by many parents attending the meeting, was the lack of information, especially from schools.

And it was suggested that more education for both young people and their parents might be the way forward.

And in response to this idea, the Angus Alcohol and Drugs Partnership said they are working hard to raise awareness of the effects and danger of legal highs.

Susan Wilson, partnership chair, said: “The partnership is aware of the concern within local communities about the availability and use of psychoactive substances, or legal highs as they are known.

“In response to these concerns, we are supporting a number of projects to give information and advice to all sections of the community, including education professionals, parents and young people.”

Among the events which have taken place are awareness raising sessions at local schools, with teachers and parents invited along to learn about the dangers of legal highs.

Those attending the events are given factual information to help them recognise the signs and difficulties that young people may encounter through the use of alcohol and/or legal highs.

If you are worried about this, contact the Web Project on 01307 460101.