A mother who lost her young son to so-called ‘legal highs’ in April has described these new psychoactive substances as “filthy and disgusting” and has thanked Fountain community worker Graham Warke for commissioning an educational DVD highlighting the problem.
Adele Wallace, will be at Lisneal College tomorrow for the launch of ‘Legal Highs - Lethal Lows’ a DVD produced by Charlie Oundo of Simba Star Media and commissioned by Mr Warke in his capacity as a community worker at the Cathedral Youth Club.
Adele will tell an audience comprising 120 pupils from Lisneal, St Mary’s and St Cecilia’s Colleges, local MLAs, PSNI officers and community workers, of the heartbreaking loss of her 17-year-old son Adam Owens, who died after taking a new psychoactive substance in Bangor in April.
Speaking ahead of the DVD launch, Ms Wallace, said it’s vital to get the message out that young people are playing a form of chemical Russian roulette by consuming these shape-shifting cocktails.
“It is crucial, you are talking about life and death,” she told the paper. “There are so many young people who are taking these legal highs - I don’t even like calling them legal highs, these psychoactive substance, they don’t know how addictive they are, and how they impact on everything, on your health, on your family.
“They are filthy. They are disgusting. I lost Adam, which was the most horrifying thing ever.
“What concerns me is that there are more lives going to be lost as a result of this scourge, which affects every part of our society, every area.”
Mr Warke, who has been working on the DVD as a youth worker but has also raised the matter in his capacity as a DUP councillor, concurred.
“This stuff is deadly,” he said. “It is killing people and it is destroying families.”
He added: “I was working with high risk, hard-to-reach young people and I realised there was a problem but found it hard to put my finger on it.
“A few years ago legal highs started becoming more prevalent and I started realising society was awash with it.”
Adele said one of the principal problems is that chemists keep altering the drugs to create new variants that technically won’t be scheduled as controlled substances.
This causes both policing and medical difficulties.
“They only have to tweak them slightly and this causes huge problems for the toxicologists and forensic scientists who find it difficult to identify what’s in them,” she said.
“If I can get more young people and families educated about the dangers then I’ll feel I’ve done something.
“I’d like to personally thank Graham Warke and the Cathedral Youth Club for inviting me to be involved in the DVD. I think it’s excellent and should now be used as an educational tool to help reach kids that are at risk.”