Drug Education News

News and views from the Drug Education Forum

Mentor UK Youth Involvement Project

Youth Involvement Project March 08

Youth Involvement Project Members

Mentor UK have a report on the impact of their youth involvement project. They say that:

Over the course of the project the young people told us:

  • We need to trust the adults delivering drug education and advice.
  • Our rights should not be infringed in an attempt to prevent drug misuse and antisocial behaviour.
  • We need to be able to talk to our parents or carers about drugs and want better support for families affected by drugs.
  • Some young people are drinking large amounts of alcohol regularly. There is a lack of awareness about the harm alcohol can do to health and very little understanding of sensible drinking guidelines.
  • We think issues such as deprivation, lack of confidence and personal problems make us more vulnerable to drug misuse and want help to tackle these.
  • Drug education needs to be dramatically improved; it should be a specific subject on the curriculum; should include simple straight forward messages about the known risks and should be delivered by professionals who are motivated and skilled to deliver a balanced message. Our experience of receiving drug education from teachers is that they often don’t seem motivated or knowledgeable and they give a biased view.
  • We don’t think there is enough support for young people who use drugs and services that exist are not properly advertised.
  • We recognise that our behaviour is strongly influenced by media portrayal of drug use both on television and by celebrities. Our peers are another strong influence and we believe that peers who don’t use drugs are a positive influence.
  • Boredom contributes to young people using drugs and positive activities need to be more accessible.
  • Drugs and alcohol are widely available and easily accessible to young people.

Looking in more depth at what the young people said about drug education Mentor report:

The young people were adamant that the personality of the worker who delivers a drug intervention is key to its effectiveness.

There was a general lack of trust in the ability of some teachers to deliver drug education. It was felt that they were not really motivated to teach the subject and were biased in their messages; they only talked about the negative effects of drugs and did not give a balanced view.

One of their participants said:

“I don’t think [teachers] actually care about it, they’re just paid to do the job.”

Of course I’m sure this isn’t entirely fair, but it does suggest that the way teachers approach the subject makes a significant difference to the way it is perceived by those receiving it.

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Filed under: drug education, Drug Education Forum Members,

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