Drug Education News

News and views from the Drug Education Forum

Protecting Young People, Families and Communities. Evidence based response to the new Drugs Strategy.

Harry has sent me a link to a conference the Centre for Evidence and Research (what was once the NCCDP) are running in November up in Liverpool. They say:

This conference will present the latest evidence and understanding on a range of young people’s substance use issues. It will present policy discussions, examples from practice, theory driven interventions, and wider discussions of the role of substance use in young people’s lives today.

This conference will focus on Drug Strategy priorities and provide evidence based practice and policy responses to the issues;

  • Delegates will learn about, and be able to discuss the latest information and evidence relating to young people’s substance misuse issues;
  • The conference will facilitate the exchange of knowledge, views and experiences between diverse professions and disciplines;
  • To promote collaborations between policy makers, practitioners, and academics.

Filed under: Conferences, NCCDP

Can health campaigns make people ill? The iatrogenic potential of population-based cannabis prevention

Thanks to Harry Sumnall for pointing out a paper he and Mark Bellis have done for the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health which looks at some of the same issues I covered in an earlier post.  The abstract says:

In the UK and elsewhere, social marketing is becoming a major feature of health-improvement strategies. Based on marketing techniques developed for commercial sales, social marketing uses imagery (eg television, magazines, internet and billboards) and phrases (eg radio adverts and slogans) specifically aimed at target groups (eg young people), typically to increase their positive health behaviours. Both national organisations and local health services routinely develop such interventions, often with little evidence of specifically how each campaign will affect public health. In general, such campaigns are regarded as potentially beneficial and possibly ineffective, but rarely are they considered dangerous to health. However, with access to powerful media such as the internet, professional eye-catching graphics and demographic targeting techniques unimaginable only a decade ago, such views need reassessing. In this report, we highlight the potential for social marketing campaigns to have negative repercussions, using cannabis prevention as an example.

The article goes on to argue that commercial organisations that invest in social marketing do so after testing their efficacy.  They say that if governments and health promotion agencies are to use the techniques they too need to put in the research on both the positive and negative outcomes from their campaigns.

Filed under: media, NCCDP, ,

Researcher in substance use, National Collaborating Centre for Drug Prevention

I’ve been asked to bring the following job opportunity to your attention: 

The National Collaborating Centre for Drug Prevention (NCCDP) is a research partnership between the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) and the Centre for Public Health at Liverpool John Moores University. It has strong links with the cross-governmental National Young People and Drugs Programme Board and maintains a broad network of local, national and international experts in illegal drug misuse theory and practice.We are looking to recruit a researcher to work on projects related to drug use and drug use prevention. These will include a NICE funded systematic review to support development of public health intervention guidance to encourage the optimal provision of needle exchange schemes amongst injecting drug misusers.  The researcher would also have the opportunity to contribute to primary research studies in drug use, prevention and treatment, and the impact of drugs on public health.The appointed researcher will be encouraged to develop their academic portfolio through journal publications and grant applications. We would welcome applications from both experienced and early career researchers.  For more information contact Dr Harry Sumnall (h.sumnall@ljmu.ac.uk)

The job description can be downloaded here.

Filed under: NCCDP

Alcohol at home can cut teenage binge drinking, study says

The Guardian has a story about young people and alcohol:

Teenagers who drink alcohol with their parents are less likely to binge drink, according to a survey of 10,000 children which backs the continental style of introducing teenagers to small amounts of alcohol early.

Parents who do not want their children drinking behind their backs should limit their pocket money to less than £10 a week, says the study, carried out by academics and trading standards officers.

It found that teenagers who illegally bought their own alcohol were six times as likely to drink in public, in parks and on the streets, three times as likely to be regular drinkers and twice as likely to be binge drinkers.

Also of interest here are the findings from the 2004 report on the drugs, smoking and drinking survey of young people.  As you can see in the table below they found that most young people gain access to alcohol through parents and friends although that starts to change as pupils get older.  The report says:

Relative to other methods of obtaining alcohol, purchasing or attempted purchasing of alcohol was not common – 6% of those who had ever drunk had tried to buy from a shop, supermarket or off-licence in the last four weeks and 5% had tried to buy from a pub, bar or club. The most common sources for obtaining alcohol by those who had ever drunk were being given it by parents (27%), being given it by friends (27%), asking someone else to buy alcohol (20%) and taking alcohol from home (18%). Stealing alcohol was rare – among those who had ever drunk, 6% had stolen alcohol from home in the last four weeks, 1% had stolen alcohol from a friend’s home and 1% had stolen it from somewhere else.

Update – The BBC are also running the story.  And from there I’ve found the paper which concludes:

Here we have shown strong links between the risky consumption of alcohol and factors such as expendable income and underage sales. We have also identified potentially protective factors against such consumption including parental provision of alcohol and engagement in other youth activities. In turn such intelligence points towards a series of interventions including: limiting and monitoring young people’s funds; increasing costs of alcohol; providing and promoting participation in sporting and other social activities for youths; and identifying and closing all retailers selling to those underage. Such interventions are not expensive, complicated or difficult to implement. They require parents to examine children’s expenditure and perhaps even moderately consume alcohol with them, educating them about its use and providing positive role models for responsible consumption. They also require the political willpower to eradicate any parts of the alcohol industry that provide alcohol to juniors. However, the effectiveness of such measures will still rely on youths having alternatives to alcohol and consequently local authorities and governments prioritising legitimate youth activities over more bars and nightclubs.

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Filed under: alcohol, NCCDP, parents

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 2021