Warning to young people about the dangers of drugs and legal highs are to go up at Richmondshire beauty spots.
It follows incidents of anti-social behaviour at several locations in the district during recent hot weather, including the falls at Richmond.
Richmondshire District Council’s community safety team are also urging parents not to ignore the risks associated with drugs, or excuse it as their children ‘having fun’ or ‘experimenting’.
Social media messages are being issued and posters will be displayed at beauty spots visited by young people in recent weeks.
“Young people try or use drugs for various reasons – fun, curiosity, peer pressure or to cope with difficult situations, worry or low mood – and the likelihood of this is increased if their friends also use them,” said district council deputy leader and spokesperson on community safety, Councillor Helen Grant.
“There is no one sign that says your child is taking drugs so we ask parents to be vigilant and know what their children are doing.
“We are taking steps to educate them – and to stop incidents like we experienced at the Falls occurring again.”
All illegal drugs are graded according to the risk they pose and are classified as either class A, B or C drugs.
It is a criminal offence to possess, supply to others or manufacture any banned substances.
Psychoactive substances, commonly termed ‘legal highs’ are synthetic forms of illegal drugs.
Changes to the law in 2016 made it illegal to supply any ‘legal high’ for human consumption – including selling or giving them to people for free.
There are a number of common signs that parents can be aware of that may indicate drug use, especially changes which are out of character:
- Appearance and lack of care about personal grooming
- Openness with you / being secretive and dismissive
- Mood swings / irritable and grumpy change to happy and bright
- Withdrawal from family members
- Loss of interest in hobbies, sports and other favourite activities
- Changed sleeping pattern – up at night and sleeping during the day
- Changed eating habits – eat more or less at random times
- Red or glassy eyes, sniffing or runny nose
- Less or more, money and possessions
There are a variety of services and self-help groups that offer support including:
North Yorkshire Horizons 01723 330 730; Crimestoppers 0800 555 111; NSPCC 24 Hour Child Protection Line 0808 800 500; and Talk to Frank 0300 123 6600