A LISBURN drugs awareness group is holding a free course for anyone who wants to improve their knowledge about the so called 'legal highs.' Ascert, based at Bridge Street, will be holding the free community training course on May 20, from 10am-4.30pm.
The group's director Gary McMichael said they had decided to hold the course because of concerns in the community.
"Northern Ireland has seen a massive increase in the availability and abuse of so called 'legal highs,' " he said.
"These are chemicals that mimic the effects of illicit drugs such as Ecstasy, Cocaine or Cannabis. The government banned a number of these, such as Mephedrone and BZP, but as soon as one is banned there are alternative products ready and waiting to replace them.
"Some people may see these drugs as a safer option than the more traditional illicit drugs or they may think that because they are legal, it's ok to use them, but the fact is there is no such thing as a safe drug and many of these substances can be addictive and harmful, particularly when mixed with alcohol.
"There is a great deal of concern in our community about the threat posed by the abuse of these 'legal highs' but most people know very little about them, except perhaps what they have heard on the news or read.
"Ascert has had a big increase in the number of enquiries for information about legal highs. We are offering this one-day course to raise awareness of what legal highs are, what they look like, how they work and how to recognise the symptoms of use.
"So, if you are a parent, someone who works with young people or someone working within the community and you want to understand this issue better, this course will be of benefit to you."
People who wish to register for the course can call Ascert on 9260 4422 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.