Drug Education News

News and views from the Drug Education Forum

Young People’s User Involvement and Participation in Their Drug and Alcohol Service

The Children’s Society have been commissioned by the NTA to develop a policy briefing on young people’s user involvement and participation in their drug and alcohol service.

If you have examples of good practice where this happens, please send them to susie.ramsay@childrenssociety.org.uk, tel: 0207 841 4573.

Filed under: treatment, users voice, ,

The use of video clips

The DrugScope blog has an interesting post on the development of embedded video clips of users and ex-users on websites:

First-hand accounts of drug use are common features of education and prevention resources and, increasingly, websites are featuring videoclips of people talking about their experiences.

The article makes the point that while the sentiments and experiences described by individuals on these sites are genuine visitors need to remind themselves that they have been chosen by the organisations and are likely to reflect the values of that organisation. One of the examples they cite is their own young people’s website:

DrugScope’s own website for young people, D-World, includes videoclips of young people talking about various drugs (including alcohol and tobacco) in its stories section.

Again most of them discuss the adverse effect of taking drugs, but some just describe the sensations, e.g. Nick’s account of taking ecstasy. There is also a clip about friendship and how good friends don’t exert pressure on someone to take drugs.The videoclips on all these sites have been commissioned by adults to inform young people about drugs, their effects and dangers. While conveying a prevention and / or education message, they are also testimony to the fact that young people have a natural curiosity about substance use.

The use of users voices in drug education is something that the DfES addresses in their guidance for schools:

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.

The post from DrugScope concludes by saying that video materials featuring the voices of users remain popular with users of the DrugScope library, but:

Now it is possible to embed videoclips in websites, anyone surfing the net can be educated in private, at their own desk. However cautious we may be when assessing these videoclips for authenticity of voice, we cannot deny that they are a powerful medium – with the potential to reach far and wide.

As they say in blogland, go read it all.

Filed under: drug education, users voice

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