Re-Solv Stoke-on-Trent is a three-year, community-based, drug prevention project funded by the Big Lottery.
The goal is to bring the whole community together in Stoke on Trent (SOT) to raise awareness of all ‘legal highs’, to spread harm reduction messages and, in the long run, to prevent deaths.
The project will also provide free professional training about ‘legal highs’ for local organisations, community teams and support groups across the city.
What is meant by ‘legal highs’?
This project focuses on two types of legal drug use: (Click the titles to read more)
New psychoactive substances, often known as ‘legal highs’, are a range of chemicals manufactured to mimic the effects of popular illegal drugs. Their long-term effects are unknown. They are found in the form of pills, powders, liquids and plant matter and can be bought over the internet, in high street ‘head shops’ and some newsagents and corner shops. From April it will be illegal to sell or supply NPS, but they will still be legal to possess for personal use.
It is thought that ambulance call-outs responding to legal high use have quadrupled in the West Midlands and that these drugs contributed to 67 deaths in England and Wales in 2014.
Volatile substance abuse or ‘VSA’ is when solvents and gases found in everyday household products are deliberately inhaled to get ‘high’ (intoxicated). The most commonly misused products are:
- aerosols – where the propellant is butane or propane gas
- cigarette lighter refills – again butane gas
- catering ‘whip-its’ – small canisters of nitrous oxide (‘laughing gas’), usually inhaled from a balloon
- some trade glues (everyday household glues no longer contain volatile chemicals)
VSA is the most common form of substance misuse for children under the age of 14. The practice can be fatal and is known to have killed 17 people in England and Wales in 2014.
How will the project work?
The starting point will be setting up a whole series of workshops and discussions with community groups across the city – young people, parents, foster carers, teachers, community workers, key-workers in social services, substance misuse services, wraparound care providers … everyone interested in getting involved and sharing their thoughts, ideas and experiences.
Through these workshops and discussions, the community will start to develop ideas about what is needed here in Stoke-on-Trent to help tackle ‘legal’ drug use. It is then Re-Solv’s job to develop those strategies and resources which, in turn, community groups will then be invaluable in sharing and disseminating.
Re-Solv is also committed to establishing and training a network of parent volunteers who will help to provide information/support for other parents/carers. We will also be looking to run sessions for young people, particularly vulnerable young people most at risk from legal drugs.
The project also provides free professional training on VSA and NPS to professional services, local organisations, community teams and support groups across the city.
What does the project hope to achieve?
The project hopes to achieve four main outcomes by the summer of 2018:
- Children (aged 11-15 years) make healthier life choices through improved knowledge of VSA, and are more resilient to peer pressure.
- Young people (aged 16-24) have improved health/wellbeing due to increased knowledge about NPS and better coping strategies/support networks.
- Families and carers are better able to support children and young people in their care through increased knowledge and confidence to deal with NPS/VSA.
- Professionals and community members are more able to effectively meet local needs due to greater VSA/NPS awareness, skills and capacity.
Who are we working with?
Re-Solv is delighted to be working with:
Schools, Colleges and Universities
- Blythe Bridge High School
- The Cooperative Academy of Stoke-on-Trent
- Keele University
- Staffordshire University
- Stoke-on-Trent College
- Stoke-on-Trent Sixth Form College
- Thistley Hough Academy
- Trentham High School
Community Groups and Charitable Organisations
- 1000 Lives
- The Lyme Trust
- The Macari Centre
- Neighbourhood Watch
- North Staffs Carers Association
- St John Ambulance
- The Salvation Army
- Stoke City FC Community Trust
- YMCA North Staffordshire
- Younger Mind
Social and Healthcare Professionals
- Children and Families Staffordshire
- Fostering People
- Royal Stoke University Hospital
- Staffordshire Doctors Urgent Care Ltd (SDUC)
- Stoke-on-Trent Safeguarding Children Board
- West Midlands Ambulance Service
Corporate and Business Partners