Drug Education News

News and views from the Drug Education Forum

Drug Strategy One Year On

one-yearIt’s been a year since the government published the drug strategyLooking back this is what the Chair of the Drug Education Forum, Eric Carlin, had to say:

It’s good to see the commitment to improving the effectiveness of drug education and prevention for children and young people in the strategy. We know that most young people value this approach above others, with 94% saying it helped them think about the risks involved with taking drugs, and 82% saying it helped them avoid drugs.

It is going to be important for the government to get it right when talking to parents, schools, and others who deliver drug education about what evidence says is effective and to tie this to the wider public health agenda.

The government have taken the chance to highlight what they think it has achieved in that year with the publication of, The 2008 drug strategy one year on.

As you’d expect there is a chapter which focuses on young people.

positive-futuresIn terms of prevention they say they have:

increased the number of Positive Futures projects. Positive Futures targets young people in some of the country’s most disadvantaged areas. It uses sports and arts based activities to engage them and to give them the confidence to take control, change their behaviour and aspire to make something of their lives. The programme provides pathways into education, training and employment and informs young people about the dangers of substance misuse and crime.

They point to their public health campaigns, in particular the “Pablo the dog” campaign which they say has been viewed on YouTube over 700,000 times.

They also set out their future priorities, which include:

  • We know that it is not enough to respond when problems have developed, and when young people are already experiencing harm. One of our priorities is to expand our provision of services for families at risk, to prevent problems from developing and escalating. We will roll out Family Intervention Projects to all areas, offering intensive, non-negotiable support to up to 20,000 families facing complex problems, such as drug and alcohol misuse.
  • We are committed to ensuring that every young person receives good‑quality drug education. We will therefore consult the public this year on proposals to make Personal, Social and Health Education statutory for all schools.

Filed under: drug strategy

Speaking Out Briefing on the Drug Strategy

speaking-outChildren England (who were formerly NCVCCO) and NCVYS have been good enough to bring my attention to what looks to be a useful briefing paper they have produced jointly on the government’s drug strategy.

You can download it as a PDF from here, along with other briefings on a variety of public policy issues.  Hard copies are also available from speakingout@ncvys.org.uk.

As well as providing an overview of the strategy the paper analyses its implications for the children and young people’s voluntary and community sector (CYPVCS).

Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: drug strategy, youth service

Working Together To Reduce Harm

The new Welsh drug strategy is out.  It is outside our geographical remit as the Forum, but useful to be aware of.

Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: drug strategy, Wales,

LDPF Drug Strategy Guide

The latest version of the London Drug Policy Forum’s Drug Strategy Guide is available for download.

I’ve found it a very readable and accessible document and a really useful way of getting my head round some quite tangled policy and delivery mechanisms.

The National Drug Strategy - a guide for local partnerships

The National Drug Strategy - a guide for local partnerships

Filed under: drug policy, drug strategy,

Strategy aims to help addicts become drug-free

A New Approach to Tackling Scotland\'s Drug ProblemThe Press & Journal have an article about the new Scottish drug strategy, which I bring you because it’s always worth knowing what perspective the other nations in the United Kingdom put on the issues that we’re interested in. As you’ll no doubt have already seen from coverage elsewhere there’s a big focus on delivering recovery for those going through treatment.

But Mr Ewing said the strategy was not just about helping those with drug problems but prevention, with help for parents, drug education in schools, help for prisoners, tackling drug supply and economic growth with stronger families and communities.

The strategy can be found here, and the blurb says:

The Government believes that preventing drug use is more effective than treating established drug problems and that treatment services in Scotland should be based on the principle of recovery.

The chapter of the strategy that deals with preventing drug use has this to say about substance misuse education:

Substance misuse education in schools is often the first line of prevention against drug use, providing opportunities to pass on accurate, up-to-date facts, explore attitudes and, crucially, foster the skills needed to make positive decisions. It is not just about classroom teaching, but encompasses all policies, practices, programmes, initiatives and events in the school connected with the prevention and reduction of drug-related harm. The evidence is clear that no one approach to prevention and education is effective, and that one-off interventions will have limited value. Furthermore, we know that the culture, relationships and opportunities in schools contribute to young people’s social and academic outcomes, and that these are relevant to a whole range of behaviours including drug use. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: drug education, drug strategy, Scotland,

26 Minutes To Buy Heroin

The Argus in Brighton allows Martin Barnes, from DrugScope, the opportunity to make the case for a comprehensive drug strategy:

“As our annual street drug trends survey has shown, the price of many illicit drugs has fallen over recent years and heroin is no exception.

“Under the new drug strategy, there needs to be continued investment in drug treatment and an improvement in its efficacy, enabling more people to lead productive, ultimately drug-free lives.

“More resources are also needed to fund drug education and prevention work with young people, aiming to reduce the numbers of people who use or become dependent on drugs.”

Filed under: drug education, drug prevention, drug strategy, treatment,

Updated National Drug Strategy Guide from the LDPF

LDPFThanks to Sara for uploading the updated guide, as before it’s full of good advice.

Whatever the confusion in terms of monitoring and development, there are a number of clear messages to DATs.

Your ambitions need to be about more than just treatment. Treatment is important, but given the localism agenda you need to be really getting your hands dirty with enforcement, education, community engagement and reintegration.

Secondly, you need a strong relationship with your LSP.

In terms of the children and young people’s agenda the document says:

The continued integration of young people’s drug issues into the mainstream children’s agenda are welcome. The document signals this through identifying the necessity of better use of the Common Assessment Framework for drug issues, the extension of the OFSTED role to include drug education and the role of the Director of Children’s services as the lead for the young people’s substance misuse.

Filed under: drug strategy,

Asbo changes aim to help at-risk teenagers

The Observer:

Up to 1,000 teenagers considered at risk of criminality because of truancy, drug use, family breakdown or other warning signs will be put into so-called family intervention projects. They will be required to sign a contract governing their behaviour and accept help such as drug treatment. Refusal to co-operate will leave the teenager open to an Asbo.

Looking at the Drug Strategy, it says:

The Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) leads on work to prevent substance misuse among young people and on family-based interventions. Within this work, families will be supported and strengthened, so that they can build young people’s resilience and reduce the harms caused by substance misuse by:

  • providing better information to parents and other carers to strengthen their role in preventing young people’s substance misuse;
  • where appropriate, involving families in the treatment of young people and other family members; and
  • developing additional support for families at risk, drawing on learning from a range of pilot programmes.

Neither the strategy or action plan mentions the use of Asbo’s except in relation to those already convicted of drug offences.

Filed under: drug strategy, drug treatment,

Drug Strategy Game

Drink and Drugs News has a (relatively) lighthearted look at the drug strategy. This is their take on how drug education gets handled:

Drugs education will begin earlier in schools – ‘from when they enter school at four or five’ according to children and families minister Kevin Brennan. The Home Office’s FRANK campaign (which received some strong criticism in the strategy consultation) will be adapted to complement wider drug education objectives and the website will become a portal for young people to access drug treatment or targeted support. Local partnerships will be encouraged to run local drug awareness campaigns and schools and parents will be offered help in preventing drug, alcohol and volatile substance use.

Drug Education Forum chair, Eric Carlin, commented: ‘It is going to be important for the government to get it right when talking to parents, schools, and others who deliver drug education about what evidence says is effective, and to tie this to the wider public health agenda.’

Filed under: drug strategy,

Analysis: Substance misuse – Families at centre of drugs strategy

Children & Young People Now provide some space to look at the drug strategy:

But while few question the ambition and direction of Drugs: Protecting families and communities, there are concerns about turning these ideas into real progress.Martin Barnes, chief executive of the charity DrugScope, has yet to be convinced. “In terms of young people and families there’s a lot of good stuff in the strategy, but as always the issue is delivery,” he says.

Barnes points to two gaps in the strategy. First, both it and the action plan for the next three years are short on specific details about how plans will work in practice. For example, the strategy proposes better communication between child and adult services in local authorities but contains no information about how this will happen.

Filed under: drug strategy,

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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