Campaigners in Montrose who are trying get the ‘legal high’ shop in the town closed down met with Nigel Don MSP for Angus North and Mearns.
Mr Don met with Lyn Torrance, from the Montrose Against Legal Highs Facebook group, who set up the group after becoming increasing worried about the safety of her grandchildren as a result of these shops, last Monday (March 31).
This comes after a recent meeting with Police Scotland at which Mr Don was provided with information on high street shops selling apparently legal, but dangerous substances, in his Angus and Mearns constituency.
Mr Don said: “The truth is that addiction of any substance can be felt across society and is not limited to the young or the vulnerable.”
The meeting also heard first hand accounts of the effects of these drugs, including the harrowing story of the recent death of a young, high achieving and professional man.
The online group has expressed great concern for young people in the local area, especially for children.
Lyn Torrance said: “I don’t want my children or grandchildren to ever become involved with these drugs and the best way to make sure that happens is to try to get the shop in Montrose to close.
“My aim in the meantime is to raise awareness and put pressure on the shop in Montrose to stop selling them.”
Mr Don added: “It is a serious concern that psychoactive substances are available from high street shops.
“I will be asking the Scottish Government what further measures can be taken to support the police to rid our communities of the effects of these substances.
“I am heartened and impressed by the commitment of Lynn Torrance and her group in raising awareness of this problem.
“I would stress that this problem affects communities all across Scotland and a co-ordinated effort is required to ensure it is stopped”
Montrose councillor David May, who is a member of the Facebook group, said: “This problem is impacting on the health and well-being of all members of our communities and we must join together to support the work of the government, the police and education.
“Educating parents, as well as our young people, is crucial for them to understand that ‘legal highs’, in the words of Lynn Torrance, are in fact ‘lethal highs’, and there is evidence of the effect this can have both locally, as well as nationally.”
Mr May met with met Pauline Stephen, the Head of School and Learning at Angus Council, last week to discuss what schools in the county are doing to educate youngsters and their parents about affects of ‘legal highs’.
He said: “I heard about not only what presently our schools do through their Personal and Social Education (PSE) programme, but also what the authority are planning to do in the future.
“It was clear to me that the council have been very active in working with our schools and key school staff on this, both in regard to ensuring not only that this is covered, but also how this is covered, to have the greatest effect about highlighting the dangers of these drugs.”
A council spokesperson confirmed that some awareness raising sessions for parents have taken place. These were arranged by Angus Alcohol and Drugs Partnership and a group is being set up to follow these events up and perhaps plan more.
The spokesperson said: “We are discussing with schools how best to ensure the topic of legal highs is embedded in the PSE curriculum and are exploring alternative education methods, such as drama workshops.”