Drug Education News

News and views from the Drug Education Forum

Time for Action – Young Londoners and Tellus3

Time for ActionJust had a chance to look at the Mayor of London’s new vision for equipping young people for the future and preventing violence.

The Mayor has 5 priorities:

1. Giving young offenders in prison for the first time the life tools that will enable careers other than professional criminality. It makes sense on all levels, even financially.

2. Teachers can only educate kids if they are actually in school. Truancy needs more co-ordinated and assertive effort.

3. Only a tiny minority of children in care go to university. They are much more likely to end up in prison. We want to change these numbers.

4. Their behaviour shows that too many young people lack self-respect and character. Organisations like the Scouts, Girl Guides and Police Cadets know a lot about character, and we need their help.

5. Sport can unify and redeem. Healthy bodies lead to healthy minds, and we want more sporty, active kids in our city. 
In addition to these themes, the Mayor wants to establish specialist Mayoral Academies across London to help equip the city and young people with the skills needed for the future.

A number of these should impact on the risk and protective factors around substance misuse.  But the text of the strategy doesn’t really have much to say about the problems young people in London might face around drugs and alcohol.

There is a brief mention about the links between gangs and drug dealing, and also that access to drugs and alcohol can be increase the risks of offending, but beyond that I didn’t see anything which would indicate that the Mayor sees drugs and alcohol misuse by young people as a priority for his administration.

And perhaps he’s got a point.

Tellus3 in London

Looking at the results for the Ofsted Tellus3 survey I’ve pulled out the London boroughs (where there is information – Hammersmith and Fulham, Westminster, Southwark and the Corporation of London didn’t participate) and there are some interesting findings.

Drugs:

london-drugs-yes

  • Fewer young people from London say they have taken drugs than the national average, 9% to 11% respectively.
  • There was no difference in number that said they had not taken drugs (86%).
  • Looking at individual boroughs young people in Kensington and Chelsea are the least likely to say they have taken drugs (3%), and those from Richmond-Upon-Thames the most likely to answer yes (17%). (Bexley didn’t provide information on this question).

Alcohol:

Ofsted Tellus3
  • Many more young Londoners say they’ve never had an alcoholic drink than the national average.
  • In Tower Hamlets over 60% of pupils say they have never had a drink.  In Havering this falls to 23%.
  • 7% of pupils from Bromley and Kingston say that they have been drunk three or more times in the last four weeks (compared to a national average of 6%).

london-alcohol-drunk-3+times

Time for Action is a consultation document.  To submit your comments complete the web-based feedback form below by 16 December 2008.

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Filed under: alcohol, illegal drugs, Ofsted,

Urban drug habits sniffed out in sewage

The New Scientist describe how scientists are testing our sewage to see which drugs we take:

The Milanese are partial to a line or two of cocaine. The same goes for many drug users in London, although they dabble in heroin more than their Italian counterparts. Both cities like ecstasy at the weekends and cannabis pretty much every day. Welcome to the results from a new branch of public health: sewage epidemiology.

Should you be intrigued you can read the whole research paper here.

Filed under: europe, illegal drugs, research, , ,

Mayoral candidates talk drugs

The London Drug and Alcohol News have asked three of the London Mayoral candidates about their views on drugs.

Here are some of what they said:

Boris Johnson:

The evidence suggests that many drugs users in the capital are young adults. This means we need to tackle substance abuse through better education in school and youth groups. And given that alcohol misuse can start with teenagers, I will not hesitate to name and shame councils that fail to crack down on shops selling alcohol to under 18s.

Brian Paddick:

For nonaddicts, I believe the emphasis needs to be on educating rather than criminalising people, getting those with credibility to tell young people in particular what the risks are of taking drugs and alcohol.That means recovering addicts and medical professionals going into schools and colleges and talking about their experiences.

Ken Livingston:

I made publishing the definitive ‘Highs and Lows’ reports a key priority. I have supported and championed good practice in boroughs, and among the voluntary and statutory sector, encouraging services to join up.

Filed under: drug education, ,

Drugs charity sets up network for grandparent carers – Children & Young People Now

Children & Young People Now report the happy news that Adfam – one of our members – has been funded to develop a London wide network of grandparent carers:

Vivienne Evans, chief executive of Adfam, said: “There is currently a chronic lack of support and a host of complex problems facing grandparent carers. The money will go a long way towards rectifying this imbalance.”

The money will be spread over three years. By the last year it is hoped the network will be established and the support groups will be able to run independently as self-help groups.

Filed under: Drug Education Forum Members, grandparents, , ,

Under age drinking league tables planned for London

Children & Young People Now report on the Conservative candidate for Mayor of London Boris Johnson’s ideas for trying to get councils to use the Licensing Act to restrict the amount of alcohol bought by young people in the capital:

“We must make alcohol harder to buy for under 18s in order to tackle the problem of underage drinking and deal with alcohol related violence,” he said.”I am willing to publish league tables, naming and shaming those councils who do not use their powers to crackdown on this.”

Filed under: Conservatives, ,

London: the Highs and Lows 2

From Media Newswire:

Levels of drug use are lower among young Londoners than among young people nationally. In 2005/06 20.3 percent of London BCS respondents aged 16-24 reported that they had used an illicit drug in the last year, compared to 25.2 of people in this age group across England and Wales. In 2005/06 11.2 of London respondents to the British Crime Survey reported using an illicit drug in the last year. This was a decrease from 12.2 percent in 2004/05 but is slightly higher than the 10.5 percent across England and Wales reporting illicit drug use in the last year.

This comes from a new report London: the Highs and Lows 2; full document and executive summaries available.

The section in the document on drug education and information for young people says:

Drug education is a statutory part of the national school curriculum in England and Northern Ireland. Although nearly all London schools teach pupils about drugs, tobacco and alcohol, the amount of time spent on these subjects varies significantly. A majority of pupils are able to recall lessons on these subjects.

The Home Office launched a drug information campaign – ‘FRANK’ – in May 2003. FRANK provides information about drugs to young people and their families through a website, and a helpline, and through the distribution of written materials. During the campaign’s first year 407,457 calls were made to the FRANK helpline, the FRANK website received 1.5 million visits and 22,590,000 leaflets, toolkits and resource packs were distributed.

Information regarding the public safety impact of drugs and alcohol is also provided via the internet. The drug drive website http://www.drugdrive.co.uk was recently re-launched to raise awareness about how drugs can affect driving ability. The website is aimed at 17-30 year olds.

All services that work with young people in London report demand for good quality information concerning alcohol and drugs.

We’d add that schools should also teach about medicines and volatile substances, and 
we know that many do.

Filed under: drug education, illegal drugs,

Cannabis warnings improve police-youth relations, Yard argues

The Daily Mail have an article looking at the Metropolitan Police’s policy on cannabis. They report a 12.4% increase in the number of people accused of cannabis possession, the report says:

Of those individuals caught with the drug, a staggering 71 per cent are under the age of 25 while 14 per cent are children aged between 10 and 17.

(via Transform)

Filed under: cannabis, police,

ALG Survey of Londoners

The ALG do an annual survey of Londoners. This year they have asked young people between the ages of 11 and 17 about their concerns.

Of the issues raised drug use and pushers was the third highest concern for this age group.

Filed under: illegal drugs,

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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