Drug Education News

News and views from the Drug Education Forum

Signing up to NI 115

I’ve been taking a look at the Local Priorities website to see which authorities have signed up to delivering on National Indicator 115, part of the set that makes up PSA 14. That’s the one which is about reducing the substance misuse by young people.

It turns out there are 36.

Bedfordshire, Bradford, Bristol, Buckinghamshire, Cheshire, Doncaster, Dudley, Essex, Halton, Harrow, Isle of Wight, Kirklees, Knowsley, Leicestershire, Lewisham, Liverpool, Middlesbrough, Milton Keynes, Norfolk, North East Lincolnshire, North Yorkshire, Northamptonshire, Northumberland, Plymouth, Redcar and Cleveland, Sefton, Somerset, South Tyneside, Southampton, St Helens, Stoke-on-Trent, Wakefield, Warrington, Wolverhampton, and York.

Can’t help but notice it’s about half of the number that went for NI 40 (which is about getting drug users into treatment).

I wonder whether that was because treatment is perceived to be easier to achieve than prevention, because the money to deliver is easier to identify or for some other reason. Perhaps readers from DAATs might want to comment…

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Filed under: drug prevention, drug treatment

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,

NTA to to take on a leadership role for young people’s substance misuse treatment

From the NTA’s press release:

Rosanna O’Connor, NTA Director of Regional Management and member of the Youth Justice Board, explains: “We see this as a great opportunity to develop the young people’s treatment agenda to ensure that every young person (under 18) in England has access to specialist substance misuse treatment provision when they need it, that it is of high quality, integrated into broader children’s services, and is particularly targeted to support those most vulnerable.

“Many young people under the age of 18 use alcohol and/or illegal drugs occasionally, most of whom will probably suffer no long term harm.  For a minority, though, alcohol and drug use will be part of a pattern of challenging behaviour which affects family relationships, disrupts their education or training, and is likely to increase the risk of offending.  For a tiny minority, drug problems will escalate into dependence.  We are excited by how we can make a real difference to the lives of these groups of young people.

Filed under: drug treatment

Assessing young people for Substance Misuse

A bit off our patch but of interest none the less the NTA have produced guidance on assessing young people for substance misuse. In introducing the guidance they say:

This document has been developed for service managers and practitioners delivering specialist substance misuse services to young people under the age of 18. It describes a framework for specialist substance misuse assessment, how specialist substance misuse assessment dovetails with the Common Assessment Framework (CAF) for children and young people (DfES, 2006a) and outlines the context of undertaking an assessment of young people and care planning arrangements. It is not an assessment tool but covers the essential elements of specialist substance misuse assessment and other factors that need to be considered.

I see that Louise Crompton (a former Coordinator of the Drug Education Forum) was involved in the development of the document.

Filed under: drug treatment

Sector makes a habit to break dependence

From The Times in an article about addiction:

The Times Educational Supplement (Jan 12) offers evidence that addiction starts young. Up to a quarter of girls aged 15 smoke and 16 per cent of boys. But a scheme in County Durham in which nicotine patches were given to pupils as young as 12 has been hailed a success. School nurses issue the patches and do not have to tell parents that their child has received treatment. A local Tory MEP, Martin Callanan, is not happy. “I think it is a bad example to other children.”

Young people whose vice is drink or drugs rather than fags are being offered help by the charity Addaction. Young People Now (Jan 10) says that a £1.55 million “youngaddaction plus” project is aimed at those under 20, and their families, whose lives are blighted by substance misuse.

The TES figures are presumably drawn from the government survey of school pupils which found:

Year 11 pupils who remembered having lessons on smoking in the last year were
less likely than those who did not to be regular smokers (22%, compared with 29%).

Filed under: drug treatment, tobacco

Experimenting starts ‘as young as 13’

Drink and Drugs News carries a story about a survey from Phoenix Futures, a treatment agency, of their clients:

Almost 80 per cent of children have had their first experiences with drugs by the time they reached 16, with 39 per cent experimenting as young as 13, according to a new survey. Clients from prison, residential care and community services across England and Scotland participated in the survey, by Phoenix Futures.

The survey, which can be downloaded here, says this:

39% of respondents in treatment for drugs first took a drug under the age of 13. This rises to 78% by the time they were 16. This shows a marked increase in the numbers of clients who first took drugs as young children; in a Phoenix Futures survey carried out 10 years ago 10% of clients had started taking drugs aged 10 to 14.

There is a slight difference between these two quotes, which I’m sure you’ll notice; Phoenix Futures are talking about their client group and the Drink and Drugs News story seems to be saying that it applies to all young people.

The latest figures from Drug use, smoking and drinking among young people in England in 2005, the annual survey of pupils between the ages of 11 and 15, suggests that amongst the wider population 22% of 13 year olds have tried an illegal drug (usually volatile substances or cannabis) and that this rises to 45% of 15 year olds.

Neither of these sets of figures makes for comfortable reading, but I’d suggest they evidence the risk and protective factors that we know are important around substance misuse.

Filed under: drug treatment, illegal drugs

Off topic, but it may be of interest that the BMJ …

Off topic, but it may be of interest that the BMJ are reporting:

The proportion of drug misusers who leave treatment programmes “drug free” is falling, despite record sums being spent on rehabilitation, new figures from the North West of England indicate.

Since 1999 the amount spent in England and Wales under the Home Office’s drug interventions programme to treat offenders who misuse drugs has risen to £165m (€245m; $312m) a year, in a bid to boost public health and cut drug related street crime.

Filed under: drug treatment

Seven-year-olds ‘treated for drugs’

The Daily Mail report the findings from a survey about young people’s drug use:

Doctors have seen children as young as seven suffering from the effects of drug or alcohol abuse, according to a new survey.

And more than four in ten doctors believe the number of children and teenagers with drug and alcohol problems is increasing. The survey questioned 500 GPs for Channel 4’s More4 News.

You can currently see the news report here, which includes an interview with the Children’s Commissioner for Northern Ireland and with a psychiatrist who questions the methodology in the surveys that suggest that drug use amongst young people has remained stable in recent years.

Filed under: drug treatment

Specialist Units in Young Offenders’ institutions

The Guardian has an interview with the Chief Executive of the Youth Justice Board, who would like to see:

specialised units developed in existing young offenders’ institutions for 200 to 300 older boys who have mental health, drug, literacy and other problems and would benefit from more intensive staff support than can be provided by the prison service.

The same story is also covered in Care and Health.

Filed under: drug treatment

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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