Le­gal highs con­fer­ence to help raise aware­ness

Event or­gan­ised by county coun­cil will re­veal re­sults of UK wide sur­vey

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - NEWS -

Or­gan­ised by Buck­ing­hamshire County Coun­cil and sup­ported by Pub­lic Health England, the event will take place at Kings Church, in Amer­sham, on Thurs­day, Novem­ber 12 from 9am to 4.30pm.

Le­gal highs, a term used to de­scribe new psy­choac­tive sub­stances (NPS) drugs that mimic il­le­gal sub­stances and are avail­able to buy freely on­line and in “head” shops, are an in­creas­ing prob­lem across the UK, and in Buck­ing­hamshire.

In late 2013, Buck­ing­hamshire County Coun­cil com­mis­sioned the Cen­tre for Drug Mis­use Re­search in Glas­gow to carry out the UK’s first na­tional in­de­pen­dent and con­fi­den­tial on­line sur­vey into peo­ple’s use of le­gal highs.

Con­cluded in Novem­ber 2014, this re­search has in­creased Bucks County Coun­cil’s un­der­stand­ing of the sig­nif­i­cant change in drug us­ing pat­terns in Buck­ing­hamshire and across the sub­stance mis­use field.

It has also dis­pelled sev­eral myths about le­gal high use and in­formed sev­eral other strands of work in­clud­ing; a Ser­vice User Con­sul­ta­tion and the de­vel­op­ment of a Mephedrone Hand­book – a guide for drug work­ers and other pro­fes­sion­als work­ing with users.

Guest speak­ers at the con­fer­ence will in­clude amongst oth­ers, Pro­fes­sor Neil McKe­ganey, from Cen­tre for Drug Mis­use Re­search in Glas­gow and Linda Stent from Pub­lic Health England.

Buck­ing­hamshire County Coun­cil’s cabi­net mem­ber for com­mu­nity en­gage­ment and pub­lic health Martin Phillips said: “We need a broad and ur­gent re­sponse to le­gal highs start­ing with a greater com­mit­ment to rais­ing aware­ness across the county of the risks.

“With the ex­plo­sion in the num­ber of on­line re­tail­ers and head shops sell­ing the new drugs, the dan­gers to young peo­ple are as great as ever and it is prov­ing more and more dif­fi­cult for the agen­cies who treat and sup­port drug users, to reg­u­late their use or re­spond ef­fec­tively.

“This con­fer­ence will give at­ten­dees the op­por­tu­nity to hear about the re­sults from our sur­vey and fol­low on work from a range of speak­ers, that will en­sure at­ten­dees get a lo­cal, re­gional and na­tional pic­ture of NPS use. I urge as many peo­ple as pos­si­ble to at­tend this event.”

To book tick­ets visit legal­highs.eventbrite.co. uk. For fur­ther in­for­ma­tion about the sur­vey visit www. myle­gal­high.org. A COM­PE­TI­TION win­ner has been crowned as the per­son with the UK’s savvi­est life­style.

John Sadeghipoor, who grew up in Amer­sham and at­tended Amer­sham School and Che­sham High Sixth Form, took part and won £5,000 in the Nec­tar Savvy Life­style com­pe­ti­tion.

As part of the con­test, the 30-year-old had to come up with ideas to do the chal­lenges he was set, while spend­ing the least amount of money he pos­si­bly could.

Mr Sadeghipoor said: “It was about how peo­ple could live the high life for less. I didn’t think that I would even be short­listed, let alone win it. I was over the moon, the com­pe­ti­tion was so strong. I think that sav­ing money is about be­ing cre­ative.”

For one chal­lenge, he im­pressed the judges by tak­ing his fi­ancée, Becky on a date that in­volved a he­li­copter ride, fol­lowed by a din­ner of oys­ters and Pros­ecco over­look­ing the Lon­don sky­line for £99.20.

For the Get the Look style fash­ion chal­lenge, con­tes­tants were tasked with recre­at­ing a celebrity look for less, on a bud­get of just £150. Mr Sadeghipoor de­cided to em­u­late David Gandy, get­ting the celebrity’s look for just £69.87 through his savvy eye. He suc­ceeded in cre­at­ing the celebrity style by mix­ing up lower priced fab­ric­swith­more­ex­pen­sive pieces, which can be found cheaply in mar­kets such as Brick Lane.

When asked for his top tips to save money while lead­ing the high life, Mr Sadeghipoor said: “Some­times, it is about us­ing your per­son­al­ity and charm to get the best price. If you do not ask, then you do not get. You need to do a lot of re­search on­line as well as in­ter­act­ing with peo­ple. There are also some good apps out there and also money sav­ing fo­rums.”

The win­ner will use the money to take his fi­ancée Becky on a hon­ey­moon to Aus­tralia. They plan to tie the knot at St Mary’s Church in Old Amer­sham in De­cem­ber, fol­lowed by a re­cep­tion at The Crown Ho­tel.

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