Drug Education News

News and views from the Drug Education Forum

Strategy to combat teen alcohol abuse – Cumbria

Times & Star:

HEALTH chiefs in Cumbria have vowed to crack down on alcohol abuse as almost a third of 14 to 17-year-olds admitted to buying booze in the last week.

Compared to the national average more Cumbrian underage teens are binge drinking and buying alcohol and more than twice the number of 14 and 15-year-old boys report drinking in pubs or bars.

Under 19s cause around a quarter of alcohol-related crime in Cumbria.

Now, more youngsters are admitted to hospital with drink-related problems and more parents are buying booze for their children than the UK average.

The Director of Public Health is quoted saying that the drinking culture is a “mess” and arguing that young people should be able to drink responsibly “in a managed environment” from 16.

The strategy is expected by August.


Filed under: alcohol, Cumbria,

Young People and Alcohol – North West

The BBC:

Police in Lancashire are targeting underage drinkers and the people who buy alcohol on their behalf.

Officers in Blackburn teamed up with trading standards this weekend for Operation Bottlewatch, in a crackdown on alcohol-related crime and disorder.

Police said they found a number of youngsters with cans of lager which were confiscated and disposed of.

They also found a 14-year-old boy and a 16-year-old girl with vodka, which was bought from a local off-licence.

Trading standards officers are also looking for volunteers to become “test purchasers” of alcohol in the county.

And again:

So-called “spy kids” are being sought in Cumbria to help crack down on traders selling alcohol to youngsters.

Eden District Council’s Trading Standards department is looking for volunteers who will attempt to buy alcohol at licensed premises.

They must be aged between 14 and 16, and will be closely supervised while carrying out the test purchase.

The move aims to crack down on anti-social behaviour fuelled by under-age drinking.

Filed under: alcohol, Cumbria,

Tony Adams visits Cumbria

The News & Star cover Tony Adams’ visit to schools in Cumbria something we commented on recently:

An anti-drugs and alcohol scheme backed by ex-England and Arsenal captain Tony Adams received a funding boost yesterday.

Adams and his ex-teammate Lee Dixon launched the Kickabout scheme, which uses football to prevent kids from abusing drugs and alcohol, in Penrith last month.

Adams spoke openly to pupils at Queen Elizabeth Grammar School and Ullswater Community College about his battle with the bottle at the scheme launch.

It is of course very difficult to tell from this press story the detail of what Tony Adams might have said to the young people he spoke to or indeed how the DfES guidance to schools impacted on his visit and the development of the scheme he launched.

However, the scheme seems to be part of Cumbria’s approach to the Young People Delivery Plan – otherwise known as the High Focus Areas – which has two objectives:

  • To develop and test a Best Practice Model for wider dissemination; and
  • To make an early and sustained impact on delivery of drug services for children and young people.

As the DfES are an integral part of the Young People Delivery Plan I’m sure they’re asking how the areas involved are applying the guidance for schools in the work they are doing.

Filed under: Cumbria

Tony Adams visits Cumbria to warn about the dangers of drugs


“Former England football captain Tony Adams is visiting Cumbria on Thursday to warn youngsters about the dangers of drugs and alcohol abuse. ”

We can only hope that who ever has organised this – and it looks like it may have something to do with the government’s high impact areas intiative – has used the DfES guidance on external contributors role in drug education which says:

When involving external contributors, schools should ensure that:

  • they are clear about the desired learning outcomes before deciding who is best able to help achieve them
  • the external contribution is integrated into the school’s programme, rather than being an isolated event
  • the external contributors are competent educators and facilitators and do not provide input outside their area of expertise
  • where possible, pupils are involved in the preparatory and follow-up work, e.g. writing invitation and thank you letters
  • the content of lessons is negotiated to ensure that it meets the needs of pupils and is consistent with the overall aims of the drug education programme
  • the contribution is grounded in a pupil-centred approach to learning, which may involve assessing educational needs
  • all external contributors are fully aware of the school’s values and approach to drug education, the drug and other relevant policies, including those covering confidentiality, disclosure and child protection, to ensure that their approach is consistent with that of the school
  • all external contributors are aware of their roles, responsibilities and boundaries, i.e. that they work to the professional boundaries of the teacher when taking part in curriculum activities
  • the value of the external contribution is assessed through pupil feedback and evaluation. This information should be shared and used to inform future work.

Involving ex-users in drug education should be considered very carefully. Without sensitive handling they may arouse interest or glamorise drug use or describe experiences which young people may find it hard to relate to. In some instances they may unwittingly imply that their own drug use represents a ‘safe limit’ that can be copied. If they are to be involved, this should be because they are skilled in facilitating pupil learning and not simply by virtue of their status as a former user.

Filed under: Cumbria, drug education

Crackdown on young drinkers in Cumbria

The BBC have reported that:

More than 60% of 14 to 17-year-olds in Cumbria drink alcohol illegally each week, according to research. The figures came from a survey of nearly 13,000 teenagers across the north-west of England about underage drinking habits. As a result, a two-month enforcement crackdown on the problem in the county started on Tuesday. The campaign is being run by Cumbria Police and Cumbria County Council’s trading standards department. Results for Cumbria showed 61% of under 18s drink alcohol at least once a week, 23% once to twice a month, 11% once every two to 12 months and only 5% never drink alcohol.

The figures I found on the National Statistics website suggest that these figures are considerably higher than the national picture from 2000.

There are later details (for 2004) published by the Department of Health as part of their annual report on young people’s smoking, drinking and drug use. These figures say that the number of young people drinking at least once a week seems to have fallen slightly from last year, but have been pretty static for the last few years.

Filed under: alcohol, Cumbria

About this blog

This blog tries to pick up relevant media and research stories about drug education. It mainly focuses on information in England as this is the geographical remit for the Drug Education Forum. We welcome comments that are on topic.

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July 2018
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