Entertainment News

  • 6 May 2014, 14:55

Glastonbury Backs Legal Highs Blackout Campaign

The Glastonbury festival website has been blacked out in support of a campaign against so-called "legal highs".

Visitors to the festival's websitesaw a light bulb and the message: "Don't Be In the Dark About Legal Highs."

It is part of a campaign called Don't Be In The Dark by members of the Association of Independent Festivals (AIF).

Upon clicking the light bulb, information on "legal highs" appeared, allowing users to find out more about them or go to the normal page.

More than 20 other festivals, who have already banned "legal highs" at their events, took part by blacking out their websites and not posting anything on social media accounts.

They were: T in the Park, Bestival, Lovebox, Global Gathering, Secret Garden Party, Sonisphere, We Are FSTVL, 2000trees, ArcTanGent, Kendal Calling, Festibelly, Blissfields, Truck, Brownstock, Y Not Festival, Tramlines, Belladrum Tartan Heart, Hebridean Celtic Festival, Leefest, Nozstock, Wakestock, Shambala, Glasgow Summer Sessions, Parklife and Eden Sessions.

"Legal highs" are designed to produce similar effects to illegal drugs such as cocaine, cannabis and ecstasy, but are not controlled under the Misuse of Drugs Act.

This is because many are advertised as "not for human consumption" and sold as bath salts, research chemicals or plant food.

AIFco-founder and vice chair Ben Turner said "legal highs" are a "serious concern".

He said: "The substances have managed to fly under-the-radar purely by evolving faster than the monitoring bodies can regulate.

"Banning it at our festivals is only part of the battle however, we need to make fans aware of the dangers of legal highs and help them make safer choices when having fun on site."

Maryon Stewart, founder of the Angelus Foundation, which warns of the dangers of the substances, said: "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."

The Reading and Leeds festivals, which are not members of the AIF, banned "legal highs" last year.

A report released earlier this year showed that there has been a large rise in the number of deaths linked to them.

The number of cases in which novel psychoactive substances were identified as the cause of death rose from 10 in 2009 to 68 in 2012.

The research by St George's, University of London, also showed the prevalence of the drugs in post-mortem toxicology tests increased from 12 in 2009 to 97 in 2012 - a jump of 800%.

The government has launched a review into the substances which will consider whether legislation is necessary to protect public health.

Related Stories Legal High Drug Deaths Soar 800% In Three Years Legal Highs: Ban At Reading Leeds Festival Legal Highs: Drugs Charity Warns Of Dangers

Advertisement