From 9am today, Glastonbury is one of a host of UK festivals which will conduct a digital blackout across their websites, throwing their homepages into complete darkness for a day to raise awareness of the dangers of legal highs.
The initiative has been put together by UK festivals trade body, the Association of Independent Festivals (AIF), who are working with Angelus Foundation, a charity set up exclusively to educate individuals about the risks of legal highs.
A key focus of the campaign is to dispel the misconception that ‘legal’ equates to ‘safe’, and the trends are worrying – last year’s ONS report showed an 80% increase of deaths from legal highs from 29 to 52. The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction identified over 280 psychoactive synthetic substances as not being covered by existing drug laws, with regulation unable to keep pace with the number of new substances flooding the market. Health researchers have described taking legal highs as like ‘Dancing in a minefield’.
Maryon Stewart, Founder of Angelus Foundation added, “Legal highs are a huge but hidden problem because young people are acting in ignorance and no-one is measuring the harms. As the lead organisation raising awareness of these substances, Angelus is delighted the festivals are taking the issue seriously and helping to keep their audiences safe. We are determined to keep expanding our prevention programme into new areas and bigger events until everyone get the message that the effects of these substances are unpredictable and high risk.”
For more information on legal highs, click here to visit the AIF’s website.