26 Mar 2012

Alcohol fund prospectus

The Department for Communities and Local Government have published the prospectus for a fund to try and tackle problem drinking in communities. The government are looking for bids which show partnership working towards common goals.  Two of the outcomes that the fund is trying to influence affects young people: the consumption of alcohol by young people reduces to safe levels – indicator would be fewer A&E admissions to the local hospitals or fewer ambulance call outs as a result of drinking there is a reduction in purchasing of alcohol made on behalf of under 18s (“proxy purchasing”). They say: The Fund will expect to award in the region of £90,000 in total to successful bids (up to 10 communities). Payment will be made to the lead Local Authority of the bid through a Section 31 grant...

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26 Mar 2012

Labour calls for more alcohol education and prevention

The Shaddow Home Secretary, Yvette Cooper, has called on the government to place more of an emphasis on alcohol education and prevention in response to the newly published alcohol strategy. Speaking in the House of Commons she said:  More needs to be done on prevention, which had little mention in the statement—little wonder perhaps, when alcohol education is being watered down in schools. 

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25 Mar 2012

Coalition slashes government spending on drugs education by 80%

The Observer runs a story about the government's spending on drug education: The figures show that spending on drugs education – including information services available to those desperate for help – has fallen from £3.9m in 2009-10 to £0.5m in 2010-11. This weekend the Drug Education Forum, the main source of expertise on drug education in England that disseminates research on drugs and drug education to teachers, is having to close, having had its £60,000 government grant ended.The forum brings together over thirty 30 national bodies with expertise and professional interest in promoting and developing good practice in drug education in schools, youth services and other settings. The figures that form the basis of the headline come from the Focal Point report prepared by the Department of Health for the...

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23 Mar 2012

Alcohol Strategy 2012

The government have launched their Alcohol Strategy, much of the attention has innevitably been on the intention to introduce a minimum unit price at 40 pence per unit. But as you'd expect there is a little more, including some specifics that will be of interest to the audience of this website. The Risks The strategy gives a quick overview of the risks they see in young people's drinking. Drinking too much too soon is a significant risk to young people’s health and development. Most children under 16 (55%) have never drunk alcohol. However, despite declining rates of drinking in the last decade, the UK compares poorly with other European countries for drinking by 15-16 year old students in regular European surveys and we cannot be complacent. To show there isn't any complacency they propose to: ensure that young people know...

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21 Mar 2012

PQ - Drugs: Schools

David Crausby the Member of Parliament for Bolton North East asks the Department for for Health what discussions they have had with the Department for Education on teaching of the dangers of drug abuse in schools. Anne Milton, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State gives the government's response: Ministers in this Department and their counterparts in the Department for Education worked closely to develop the plans in the Government's drug strategy for schools-based drug prevention work and continue regular discussions to review progress and identify scope for further action. They will also work together in developing plans for personal social and health education, which take account of the responses to the consultation last year. Interestingly the response doesn't talk about any joint work on the Children and Young People's Health...

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21 Mar 2012

PQ - Preventure Programme

Sharon Hodgson, one of Labour's education spokespeople, asks the Department for Education if they will commission an assessment of the effectiveness of the PreVenture programme. Sarah Teather (Minister of State for Children and Families gives the government's response: The Drug Strategy, published in December 2010, recognised that all young people need high quality drug and alcohol education so they have a thorough knowledge of their effects and harms and the skills and the confidence to choose not to use drugs and alcohol. The Addictions Department at Kings College London has been invited to submit an existing evaluation of the PreVenture programme to the Centre for Analysis of Youth Transitions (CAYT), one of the Department's three new research centres. CAYT will build a repository of good practice based on independently validated...

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15 Mar 2012

Questionnaire for services providing drug prevention interventions to ethnic minority/migrant/immigrant populations

I've been asked to bring your attention to a piece of work that the EMCDDA are doing to to map and provide a typology of drug prevention services for ethnic minorities, migrants and imigrants. If you are, or have provided a prevention intervention that might be of interest to the Centre you are asked to fill out a questionnaire - if you know of someone else then please do pass it on. The EMCDDA explain: the information available on prevention services for ethnic minorities/migrants/immigrants and also on the operation and content of their interventions is patchy and incomplete. As a consequence, it is hard to assess how services for these vulnerable groups respond to their needs. Prevention services to be included in the project are those that: are current or did not end earlier than 2010; have been delivered at more...

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15 Mar 2012

Social Justice: transforming lives

The government have produced a strategy outlining their ambitions for social justice. They have set out 5 principles by which they can be judged:  A focus on prevention and early intervention Where problems arise, concentrating interventions on recovery and independence, not maintenance Promoting work for those who can as the most sustainable route out of poverty, while offering unconditional support to those who are severely disabled and cannot work Recognising that the most effective solutions will often be designed and delivered at a local level Ensuring that interventions provide a fair deal for the taxpayer Amongst a range of issues they set out the challenge as they see it for tackling drug and alcohol problems: It is estimated that there are 1.1 million dependent drinkers in...

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15 Mar 2012

PQ - Funding for the Drug Education Forum

Sharon Hodgson MP has asked a Parliamentary Question about the funding that the DfE has and will provide the Drug Education Forum: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what funding his Department provided to the Drug Education Forum in each of the last five financial years; and what funding his Department will provide to the Drug Education Forum in each of the next five financial years. Tim Loughton replies: The Department provided the Drugs Education Forum (the Forum) with funding of £64,000 per year from financial year 2007-08 to 2010-11 and £69,000 in financial year 2011-12. Payments for the Forum were made by the Department to Mentor, the voluntary sector organisation which hosts the Forum. The Department will not be providing further funding to the Forum. However the Department recognises the continuing need...

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12 Mar 2012

Keith Vaz asks for Your Opinion

An article for the Mercury in Leicestershire about the current enquiry being carried out by the Home Affairs Select Committee into the government's drug strategy ends with a call for members of the public to give their views.   The questions Mr Vaz would like thoughts on are: In general, do you believe the drug laws in this country are a) too liberal b) about right c) not liberal enough?   Which drugs do you believe are the most prevalent in Leicester? Is drug-related crime such as burglary or shoplifting a problem in Leicester? Do parents have enough information about so-called legal highs? Is the Government too slow to ban legal highs? Is sufficient drug education provided in schools? Do you believe ex-addicts should provide drug education in schools? At what age do you believe drug...

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05 Mar 2012

Drugs charities unite to lobby government to make drug education compulsory and save lives

You may have seen the Observer over the weekend had a story about drug education, and that today has seen further coverage of a call for drug education to be a compulsory part of the school curriculum as part of PSHE. I've been sent the press release that the Angelus Foundation and Amy Winehouse Foundation have released: With the scourge of ‘legal highs’ and party drugs threatening the wellbeing and even lives of young people in the UK, two leading drugs charities, the Angelus Foundation and The Amy Winehouse Foundation, are uniting to petition the government to make effective drugs education a compulsory subject on the National Curriculum. The coalition government in its current curriculum review has abandoned the last government’s bill to make the PSHE curriculum compulsory, including drug education. Schools can...

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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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