Drug Education Forum Blog And News http://www.drugeducationforum.com/blog.xml.cfm Coalition slashes government spending on drugs education by 80% <p><a href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2012/mar/25/drugs-education-coalition-cuts?INTCMP=SRCH">The Observer</a> runs a story about the government's spending on drug education:</p> <blockquote>The figures show that spending on drugs education &ndash; including information services available to those desperate for help &ndash; has fallen from &pound;3.9m in 2009-10 to &pound;0.5m in 2010-11. <p>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 &pound;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.</p> </blockquote> <p>The figures that form the basis of the headline come from the <a href="http://www.nwph.net/ukfocalpoint/writedir/userfiles/file/UK%20Focal%20Point%202011/FOCAL%20POINT%20REPORT%202011%2009%20MARCH%2012.pdf">Focal Point report</a> prepared by the Department of Health for the EMCDDA.</p> http://www.drugeducationforum.com/blog/?ArticleID=8109 http://www.drugeducationforum.com/blog/?ArticleID=8109 25 Mar 2012 00:00 GMT Alcohol Strategy 2012 <p><img width="200" height="89" vspace="5" hspace="5" align="right" alt="" src="http://www.drugeducationforum.com/images/dynamicImages/documents/documents_12637_122785.jpg" />The government have launched their <a href="http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/publications/alcohol-drugs/alcohol/alcohol-strategy?view=Binary">Alcohol Strategy</a>, much of the attention has innevitably been on the intention to introduce a minimum unit price at 40 pence per unit.</p> <p>But as you'd expect there is a little more, including some specifics that will be of interest to the audience of this website.</p> <p><strong>The Risks</strong></p> <p>The strategy gives a quick overview of the risks they see in young people's drinking.</p> <blockquote>Drinking too much too soon is a significant risk to young people&rsquo;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.</blockquote> <p>To show there isn't any complacency they propose to:</p> <blockquote>ensure that young people know the risks associated with alcohol by making it a key feature of a new &pound;2.6 million youth marketing programme aimed to drive further reductions in regular smoking, drinking, drug use and risky sexual behaviour during the teenage years.</blockquote> <p>And while I wish that approach every success I wonder whether they've read <a href="http://www.drugeducationforum.com/index.cfm?PageURL=blog&amp;ArticleID=7983&amp;ArticleMonth=">the evidence</a> that suggests that emphasising risk may not be the way to go when talking to young people about alcohol.</p> <p><strong>School's role</strong></p> <p>The government make it clear that the statutory duty that schools have to the wellbeing of their pupils extends to thinking about how alcohol might affect pupils.</p> <blockquote>Good schools play a vital role as promoters of health and wellbeing in the local community. They understand the connections between pupils&rsquo; physical and mental health, their safety, and their educational achievement, and are well placed to provide good pastoral care and early intervention for problems which may arise from, or lead to, alcohol misuse. </blockquote> <p>They also suggest there will be a role for alcohol education, though how that will be supported will have to wait for the PSHE review to reach a conclusion:</p> <blockquote> The Government&rsquo;s review of Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) education is focused on improving the quality of PSHE in all schools and its core outcomes. This will include exploring how schools can better decide for themselves what pupils need to know, in consultation with parents and others locally. Schools and out-of-school services will also be able to access information about effective alcohol prevention programmes through the Centre for the Analysis of Youth Transitions (CAYT). </blockquote> <p>The section that focuses on the Responsibility Deal makes a reference to the work that the Forum has been involved in and which Brian Dobson (our Chair) has described <a href="http://www.drugeducationforum.com/index.cfm?PageURL=blog&amp;ArticleID=8089&amp;ArticleMonth=">here</a>.</p> <p>The strategy says the Department expect to see progress in delivery of evidence-based, effective education and prevention programmes&nbsp;intended to reduce drinking by young people as a result of that work.</p> <p><strong>Supporting Parents</strong></p> <p>The strategy suggests that there will be an increase in the advice and support available to parents to help them discuss alcohol with their children.</p> <blockquote>We will ensure that guidance is available for parents through a range of public and community organisations including; NHS Choices, Directgov, Family Lives and NetMums, Mumsnet, Dad Talk, and Contact a Family.</blockquote> <p><strong>Targeted Interventions</strong></p> <p>The strategy quite rightly makes clear the overlap between what the government are seeking to achieve around alcohol and other strategies that they are pursuing. So, the work with the most troubled families is emphasised, reminding us that there will be&nbsp;&pound;448 million to turn around the lives of the 120,000 most troubled families.</p> <p>They also point to an ambition to be more effective in diverting young people from A&amp;E. &nbsp;The strategy suggests that up to a third of attendees coming to emergency departments because of drinking could be under 18. &nbsp;The strategy says the government want to ensure the Health Service use this &lsquo;treatable moment&rsquo;&nbsp;to advise young people about their drinking and they remind the reader that the Department for Health are already piloting interventions which provide alcohol advice in sexual health clinics.</p> http://www.drugeducationforum.com/blog/?ArticleID=8108 http://www.drugeducationforum.com/blog/?ArticleID=8108 23 Mar 2012 00:00 GMT PQ - Preventure Programme <p>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.</p> <p>Sarah Teather (Minister of State for Children and Families gives the <a href="http://www.theyworkforyou.com/wrans/?id=2012-03-20a.99553.h">government's response</a>:</p> <blockquote>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 <a href="http://www.ifs.org.uk/centres/cayt ">Centre for Analysis of Youth Transitions</a> (CAYT), one of the Department's three new research centres. <p>CAYT will build a repository of good practice based on independently validated evaluations of programmes. This will provide those that commission and deliver drug and alcohol education with a reliable source of high quality evidence-based programmes and materials and evidence of what really works to improve outcomes.</p> </blockquote> http://www.drugeducationforum.com/blog/?ArticleID=8106 http://www.drugeducationforum.com/blog/?ArticleID=8106 21 Mar 2012 00:00 GMT PQ - Drugs: Schools <p>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.</p> <p>Anne Milton, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State gives the <a href="http://www.theyworkforyou.com/wrans/?id=2012-03-20a.100417.h">government's response</a>:</p> <blockquote>Ministers in this Department and their counterparts in the Department for Education worked closely to develop the plans in the Government's <a href="http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/drugs/drug-strategy-2010/">drug strategy</a> 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.</blockquote> <p>Interestingly the response doesn't talk about any joint work on the <a href="http://healthandcare.dh.gov.uk/children-public-health/">Children and Young People's Health Outcome Forum</a>, which is currently looking at how public health can work to improve how it responds to preventable health problems.</p> http://www.drugeducationforum.com/blog/?ArticleID=8107 http://www.drugeducationforum.com/blog/?ArticleID=8107 21 Mar 2012 00:00 GMT PQ - Funding for the Drug Education Forum <p>Sharon Hodgson MP has asked a <a href="http://www.theyworkforyou.com/wrans/?id=2012-03-14a.99185.h">Parliamentary Question</a> about the funding that the DfE has and will provide the Drug Education Forum:</p> <blockquote>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.</blockquote> <p>Tim Loughton replies:</p> <blockquote>The Department provided the Drugs Education Forum (the Forum) with funding of &pound;64,000 per year from financial year 2007-08 to 2010-11 and &pound;69,000 in financial year 2011-12. <p>Payments for the Forum were made by the Department to <a href="http://www.mentoruk.org.uk/">Mentor</a>, the voluntary sector organisation which hosts the Forum.</p> <p>The Department will not be providing further funding to the Forum. However the Department recognises the continuing need of local areas, schools and practitioners to have access to reliable evidence based information and advice on substance misuse prevention and is currently exploring the best way to provide this.</p> </blockquote> <p>So that's pretty definitive.</p> http://www.drugeducationforum.com/blog/?ArticleID=8103 http://www.drugeducationforum.com/blog/?ArticleID=8103 15 Mar 2012 00:00 GMT Social Justice: transforming lives <p><img width="180" height="121" vspace="5" hspace="5" align="right" alt="" src="http://www.drugeducationforum.com/images/dynamicImages/documents/documents_12635_764657.png" />The government have produced <a href="http://www.dwp.gov.uk/docs/social-justice-transforming-lives.pdf">a strategy</a> outlining their ambitions for social justice.</p> <p>They have set out 5 principles by which they can be judged:&nbsp;</p> <ol> <li>A focus on prevention and early intervention</li> <li>Where problems arise, concentrating interventions on&nbsp;recovery and independence, not maintenance</li> <li>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</li> <li>Recognising that the most effective solutions will often be designed and&nbsp;delivered at a local level</li> <li>Ensuring that interventions provide a fair deal for the taxpayer</li> </ol> <p>Amongst a range of issues they set out the challenge as they see it for tackling drug and alcohol problems:</p> <ul> <li>It is estimated that there are 1.1 million dependent drinkers in England13 and close to 306,000 heroin and crack cocaine users in Britain.</li> <li>It is estimated that 80 per cent of users of heroin and crack cocaine in England are on working age benefits.</li> <li>The Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs has estimated that there are between 200,000 and 300,000 children in England and Wales where one or both parents have serious drug problems.</li> <li>Heroin users are 17 times more likely to die prematurely than the general population &ndash; from factors including injury and violent crime as well as their drug use.</li> </ul> <p>As the last of their principles suggests, and as we've seen in other strategies that this government have published, localism and the power of local communities to determine their own responses to need is an important element of government thinking.</p> <blockquote>Locally-designed and delivered solutions are critical here. This Government is clear that individuals and organisations working at the grassroots, from local charity and community leaders to local authorities and agencies, are best placed to make decisions about how improvements can be made to the way services are delivered in their area.&nbsp;</blockquote> <p>However, the strategy makes clear that the government recognise that they do have an important role to play both in setting strategic goals and providing resources. &nbsp;</p> <blockquote>Early intervention must be central to changing the family narrative &ndash; we need to ensure families can access the support they need to prevent problems arising and tackle issues before they become embedded.</blockquote> <p>In achieving that there is a recognition that schools have an important part to play:</p> <blockquote>Schools have a unique opportunity to ensure that children&rsquo;s lives remain on track. This also means they have a unique responsibility, and it is essential that they are equipped to help all children, especially if they are in circumstances that put them at greater risk.</blockquote> <p>This is explicitly linked to a number of risky behaviours that young people may be involved in, including drug and alcohol use.</p> <blockquote>We also know that young people are more at risk of misusing substances if they truant or are excluded, are entitled to free school meals or are from a lower socio-economic group. <p>Therefore the Department for Education has worked closely with the Association of Chief Police Officers to issue <a href="http://www.education.gov.uk/schools/pupilsupport/pastoralcare/health/drug/a00202357/drug-advice-for-schools">Drug Advice for Schools</a> (published January 2012) to support school staff in managing drugs and related incidents on school premises.</p> </blockquote> <p>As anyone who has read the new drugs advice for schools, and compared it to the previous guidance, will see it focuses in on the powers schools have for searching pupils, managing incidents and ensuring that schools have a policy framework in which they respond to the issues. &nbsp;</p> <p>What's missing, and is also missing from the social justice strategy is any sense that developmental programmes, delivered in classrooms, have a part to play in helping to achieve the government's aims.</p> <p>Whether this is because they don't want to prejudge the results of the <a href="http://www.drugeducationforum.com/index.cfm?PageURL=blog&amp;ArticleID=8070&amp;ArticleMonth=">PSHE review</a>, or because they have little faith in the <a href="http://www.mentoruk.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/Drug-Prevention-Final.pdf">evidence base</a> for effective outcomes I can't judge.</p> http://www.drugeducationforum.com/blog/?ArticleID=8104 http://www.drugeducationforum.com/blog/?ArticleID=8104 15 Mar 2012 00:00 GMT Questionnaire for services providing drug prevention interventions to ethnic minority/migrant/immigrant populations <p>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.</p> <p>If you are, or have provided a prevention intervention that might be of interest to the Centre you are asked to fill out <a href="http://www.drugeducationforum.com/images/dynamicImages/documents/documents_12636_245425.doc">a questionnaire</a> - if you know of someone else then please do pass it on.</p> <p>The EMCDDA explain:</p> <blockquote>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. </blockquote> <p>Prevention services to be included in the project are those that:</p> <ul> <li>are current or did not end earlier than 2010;</li> <li>have been delivered at more than 3 sessions/events and lasted for more than 2 weeks; and</li> <li>are interpersonal interventions &ndash; that is, they do not consist ONLY of a drugs information and awareness-raising campaign or leaflet distribution.</li> </ul> <p>Download the questionnaire <a href="http://www.drugeducationforum.com/images/dynamicImages/documents/documents_12636_245425.doc">here</a>.</p> http://www.drugeducationforum.com/blog/?ArticleID=8105 http://www.drugeducationforum.com/blog/?ArticleID=8105 15 Mar 2012 00:00 GMT Keith Vaz asks for Your Opinion <p><a href="http://www.thisisleicestershire.co.uk/drugs-laws-changed/story-15496681-detail/story.html">An article</a> 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. &nbsp;</p> <p>The questions Mr Vaz would like thoughts on are:</p> <ol> <li>In general, do you believe the drug laws in this country are a) too liberal b) about right c) not liberal enough? &nbsp;</li> <li>Which drugs do you believe are the most prevalent in Leicester?</li> <li>Is drug-related crime such as burglary or shoplifting a problem in Leicester?</li> <li>Do parents have enough information about so-called legal highs?</li> <li>Is the Government too slow to ban legal highs?</li> <li>Is sufficient drug education provided in schools?</li> <li>Do you believe ex-addicts should provide drug education in schools?</li> <li>At what age do you believe drug education should begin in schools?</li> <li>Do parents know how to discuss drug issues with their children?</li> </ol> <p>Send answers to the office of Keith Vaz MP, House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA.</p> http://www.drugeducationforum.com/blog/?ArticleID=8102 http://www.drugeducationforum.com/blog/?ArticleID=8102 12 Mar 2012 00:00 GMT Drugs charities unite to lobby government to make drug education compulsory and save lives <p>You may have seen <a href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2012/mar/03/learn-daughters-death-ketamine">the Observer</a> over the weekend had a story about drug education, and that today has seen <a href="http://www.google.com/hostednews/ukpress/article/ALeqM5h7dxRBnXMxP4p_jJFCPP53ViQVPQ?docId=N0897561330869237190A">further coverage</a> of a call for drug education to be a compulsory part of the school curriculum as part of PSHE.</p> <p>I've been sent the press release that the <a href="http://angelusfoundation.com/">Angelus Foundation</a> and <a href="http://www.amywinehousefoundation.org/">Amy Winehouse Foundation</a> have released:</p> <blockquote>With the scourge of &lsquo;legal highs&rsquo; 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. <p>The coalition government in its current curriculum review has abandoned the last government&rsquo;s bill to make the PSHE curriculum compulsory, including drug education. Schools can choose how much time they allocate to this critical subject, or if they teach it at all.</p> <p>For over 60% of schools that means one hour or less is spent on drug education per year, and that there is no consistency in who is delivering it even if it is &lsquo;taught&rsquo;: it might be the PE teacher, the school nurse, and often it is police officer or an ex-user who does an assembly. Most importantly, schools will not be measured on whether what they teach is successful or not.</p> <p>Research shows that drugs education, poorly taught, can actually increase the use of drugs amongst teenagers.</p> <p>&ldquo;Effective interventions shown to reduce the use of drugs and alcohol by in excess of 50% have been peer reviewed and published in medical journals and are currently being delivered in schools in both Canada and Australia. To provide drug education to a child costs &pound;500 but, according to surveys, the cost per drug-using child is in the region of &pound;1M by the time they are 30. Providing effective drugs education would save billions of pounds&rdquo;, said Maryon Stewart, Founder of the Angelus Foundation.</p> <p>The Angelus Foundation and The Amy Winehouse Foundation are both dedicated to raising awareness of the dangers of legal highs and club drugs, including alcohol. They will announce the launch of the petition at the House of Commons on March 5. The aim is to alert parents to the increasing dangers their children face by not being aware of the potential dangers of taking drugs, be they &lsquo;legal&rsquo; highs, club drugs, or excessive alcohol, and to urge them to sign the 10 Downing Street petition that demands compulsory drug education for all children is put on the National Curriculum. <a href="http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/30280">http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/30280 </a></p> <p>The Angelus Advisory Board of Experts will also be available for interviews and advice, including Dr Owen Bowden Jones, the Chair of the Addictions Faculty at the Royal College of Psychiatry, who runs the newly opened Club Drugs Clinic and the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital and Andrew Brown, the Director of the Drug Education Forum.&nbsp;</p> </blockquote> http://www.drugeducationforum.com/blog/?ArticleID=8101 http://www.drugeducationforum.com/blog/?ArticleID=8101 05 Mar 2012 00:00 GMT A message about prevention from the International Narcotics Control Board <p><img width="380" height="212" vspace="5" hspace="5" alt="" src="http://www.drugeducationforum.com/images/dynamicImages/documents/documents_12634_143560.png" /></p> <p>The International Narcotics Control Board have produced their <a href="http://www.incb.org/incb/en/annual-report-2011.html">annual report for 2011</a>.</p> <p>One paragraph stands out:</p> <blockquote>Governments must ensure the provision of drug abuse prevention services, especially in communities experiencing social disintegration. All stakeholders &mdash; schools, community groups, parents and state and voluntary agencies &mdash; should be involved in the design and implementation of interventions aimed at achieving this goal. These interventions should be tailored to the specific community, and their key message should be that drug abuse is not an inevitable feature of growing up within that community. Interventions should be implemented as part of a package of other activities that provide people, especially youth, with a positive sense of their own value and achievements and with the life skills required to resist engaging in drug-related activity.&nbsp;</blockquote> <p>You can download the report <a href="http://www.incb.org/incb/en/annual-report-2011.html">here</a>.</p> http://www.drugeducationforum.com/blog/?ArticleID=8100 http://www.drugeducationforum.com/blog/?ArticleID=8100 28 Feb 2012 00:00 GMT How is parenting style related to child anti-social behaviour <p>The DfE have published <a href="https://www.education.gov.uk/publications/RSG/NewRsgPublications/Page1/DFE-RR185A">a piece of research</a> looking at the links between parenting style and children's anti-social behaviour. &nbsp;The researchers point out:&nbsp;</p> <blockquote>Anti-social behaviour is a major problem in childhood and beyond. More severe, persistent forms affect 5-10% of children in developed western countries and are linked to future adult crime, drug and alcohol misuse, unemployment, poor physical health, and mental disorders. <p>A major risk factor is parenting style, in particular harsh and inconsistent parenting, which research has shown is associated with child behaviour problems. Other factors that feed into this directly and indirectly include domestic violence, parental drug abuse, maternal depression, family poverty, parents with low levels of education, stressed families and single parent status.</p> </blockquote> <p>Given the links that are found the paper says &quot;that it is appropriate to offer parents parenting programmes that have been shown to reduce coercive parenting practices, improve positive parenting, and reduce child antisocial behaviour.&quot;</p> <p>Read the report <a href="https://www.education.gov.uk/publications/RSG/NewRsgPublications/Page1/DFE-RR185A">here</a>.</p> http://www.drugeducationforum.com/blog/?ArticleID=8097 http://www.drugeducationforum.com/blog/?ArticleID=8097 27 Feb 2012 00:00 GMT A profile of pupil exclusions in England <p>To inform an inquiry being carried out by the Children's Commissioner the DfE have <a href="https://www.education.gov.uk/publications/RSG/NewRsgPublications/Page1/DFE-RR190">published an analysis of pupil exclusions</a> in England. &nbsp;The paper includes some data on exclusions for drug and alcohol related issues.</p> <p>As readers will recall <a href="http://www.drugeducationforum.com/index.cfm?PageURL=blog&amp;ArticleID=8040&amp;ArticleMonth=">we looked at the raw data</a> back in August last year.&nbsp;But this new analysis offers some additional insights.</p> <p>For example pupils on free school meals are proportionally less likely to be permanently excluded for reasons associated drug and alcohol than those who are not eligable. &nbsp;More broadly the analysis found:</p> <ul> <li>Boys are more likely to be excluded (both permanently and for a fixed period) at all ages than girls, with very few girls being excluded during the primary years. The most common time for both boys and girls to be excluded is at ages 13 and 14 (equivalent to year groups 9 and 10). In 2009/10 52.8% of all permanent exclusions were of pupils from these age groups.</li> </ul> <p>The <a href="http://www.childrenscommissioner.gov.uk/info/schoolexclusions">Children's Commissioner's inquiry</a> is to look at:</p> <p> <ul> <li>whether the system is consistent with children's rights under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, and;</li> <li>the decision making process up to the point of exclusion and whether schools and other public bodies are meeting the requirements of the Public Sector Equality Duty as defined in the Equality Act 2010.</li> </ul> <p>More details <a href="http://www.childrenscommissioner.gov.uk/info/schoolexclusions">here</a>.</p> </p> http://www.drugeducationforum.com/blog/?ArticleID=8098 http://www.drugeducationforum.com/blog/?ArticleID=8098 27 Feb 2012 00:00 GMT E-petition: Put effective drugs education on the National Curriculum <p>Ahead of Ministers deciding what to do after the DfE's internal review of PSHE the <a href="http://angelusfoundation.com/">Angelus Foundation</a> have put up a petition asking for drug education to be made statutory.</p> <p>They say:</p> <blockquote>Wide consumption of 'legal highs' and club drugs place young people at risk of long term harm and even death. These substances are often regarded as safe because many are legal. However, they are often a combination of Class B drugs and toxic chemicals. There is a lack of awareness and education, not helped by the fact that drugs education is not currently on the National Curriculum. We therefore petition to urgently get effective drugs education on the National Curriculum in Schools throughout the UK, with particular attention to the implementation of proven programmes like Climate and Preventure which have been shown to significantly reduce the use of drugs, alcohol and legal highs.</blockquote> <p>If you would like to add your name to the petition then you can do so <a href="https://submissions.epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/30280">here</a>.</p> http://www.drugeducationforum.com/blog/?ArticleID=8099 http://www.drugeducationforum.com/blog/?ArticleID=8099 27 Feb 2012 00:00 GMT ACMD - Drug Education and Prevention for Cocaine <p>I hope I'm not giving anything away in telling you that earlier this week I spent a couple of hours with members of the ACMD who are developing a report on cocaine.&nbsp;</p> <p>I was asked in to help them consider what they might say in respect to education and prevention.</p> <p>As you will appreciate it will be upto the ACMD to decide what they recommend but I thought it would be okay to share with you the notes that I put together from which I spoke and answered questions.</p> <h3>Attitudes to cocaine</h3> <p>Only 2% of 11 &ndash; 15 year olds say it is okay to take cocaine to find out what it is like. <a href="http://bit.ly/xsKun8">http://bit.ly/xsKun8</a></p> <p>Nine out of ten (93%) of 16 to 19 year olds say it is never okay to take cocaine. <a href="http://bit.ly/ryFmx5">http://bit.ly/ryFmx5</a></p> <h3>Prevalence</h3> <p>1.2% pupils age 11 &ndash; 15 have <b>ever</b> taken powder cocaine. <a href="http://bit.ly/xsKun8">http://bit.ly/xsKun8</a></p> <p>3.1% young people between 16 and 19 say they took powder cocaine in the <b>last year</b>. <a href="http://bit.ly/ryFmx5">http://bit.ly/ryFmx5</a></p> <h3>Where do young people get information about drugs</h3> <p>58% of the UK young people said they had used media campaigns as a way of finding out information about drugs in the last year.&nbsp; 36% said their information came from school.</p> <p>Source: EMCDDA <a href="http://bit.ly/z18fpm">http://bit.ly/z18fpm</a></p> <h3>What do they talk to FRANK About?</h3> <p>Calls to FRANK April &ndash; November 2007 <table border="1" cellspacing="0" cellpadding="0"> <tbody> <tr> <td width="201" valign="top"> <div><b>Number of calls</b></div> </td> <td width="201" valign="top"> <div><b>% of calls</b></div> </td> </tr> <tr> <td width="202" valign="top"> <div>Cannabis</div> </td> <td width="201" valign="top"> <div>6,617</div> </td> <td width="201" valign="top"> <div>25.39</div> </td> </tr> <tr> <td width="202" valign="top"> <div>Cocaine</div> </td> <td width="201" valign="top"> <div>5,728</div> </td> <td width="201" valign="top"> <div>21.98</div> </td> </tr> <tr> <td width="202" valign="top"> <div>Drugs (not specific)</div> </td> <td width="201" valign="top"> <div>3,696</div> </td> <td width="201" valign="top"> <div>14.18</div> </td> </tr> <tr> <td width="202" valign="top"> <div>Heroin</div> </td> <td width="201" valign="top"> <div>2,304</div> </td> <td width="201" valign="top"> <div>8.84</div> </td> </tr> </tbody> </table> </p> <p>Source: Hansard <a href="http://bit.ly/y5NCzf">http://bit.ly/y5NCzf</a></p> <h3>What could school based prevention achieve?</h3> <p>US government analysis says if effective prevention programs were implemented nationwide 30.2 percent fewer youth would have used cocaine.</p> <div>Source: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration <a href="http://bit.ly/xfRQuG">http://bit.ly/xfRQuG</a></div> <h3>Lessons from the literature</h3> <p>The approaches which are most effective are teach life skills, or are based on social influence.</p> <p>Interventions which focus on children and young people&rsquo;s attachment to school can also be effective in reducing substance misuse.</p> <p>There has been limited UK analysis of cost-effectiveness, but international evidence suggests that programmes can have good cost-benefit ratios.</p> <p>The evidence base has limitations; in particular it is largely from a US context so there may be a need for further testing and adaptation in bringing programmes to the UK.</p> <p>Partial implementation of programmes reduces their impact. This has implications for teacher training and the need for schools to set aside sufficient time for delivery, but also for designers to ensure programmes are not overambitious in terms of content.</p> <p>Source: Mentor (2011) Drug Prevention in Schools: What is the Evidence? <a href="http://bit.ly/xuhsu2">http://bit.ly/xuhsu2</a></p> http://www.drugeducationforum.com/blog/?ArticleID=8095 http://www.drugeducationforum.com/blog/?ArticleID=8095 24 Feb 2012 00:00 GMT Alcohol deaths and an alcohol strategy <p>A recent article <a href="http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736%2812%2960244-X/fulltext#bib1">in the Lancet</a> allerted me to <a href="http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/publications/re-reference-tables.html?edition=tcm%3A77-249220">the publication</a> of figures showing the death rates associated with alcohol in recent years.</p> <p><img width="480" height="334" vspace="5" hspace="5" alt="" src="http://www.drugeducationforum.com/images/dynamicImages/documents/documents_12633_675909.png" /></p> <p>A couple of thoughts strike me:</p> <ol> <li>The rate of deaths is clearly going up amongst this segment of the population despite the evidence that younger children are waiting longer before they have their first drink.</li> <li>The fact that girls prevalence rates are now higher than boys isn't reflected in the death rate.</li> <li>The forthcoming alcohol strategy really needs to have an active strategy for preventing harms earlier.</li> </ol> <p>My guess is that when the alcohol strategy is published almost all the focus will be on whether the government make a move towards minimum unit pricing (MUP). &nbsp;The <a href="http://www.shef.ac.uk/polopoly_fs/1.95621!/file/PartB.pdf">accademic modelling</a> certainly suggests that MUP&nbsp;would impact on those who are at most risk and would reduce young people's consumption too.</p> <p>But is that the only club in the game?</p> <p>As part of the support that we've been giving to the government's responsibility deal (see Brian our chair talking about it <a href="http://bit.ly/wKRJrK">here</a>) we've been looking at what role education programmes might play in having an impact.</p> <p>The evidence we've taken and the research we've done suggest to me that there are a range of programmes that would be of real value should they be introduced at population level.</p> <p>I've been struck by <a href="http://www.wsipp.wa.gov/rptfiles/11-07-1201.pdf">the economic modelling</a> being done by the Washington State Institute for Public Policy which suggests that two programmes, which have been identified in the recent <a href="http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD009113/pdf">Cochrane Collaboration review</a>, have remarkable cost benefit ratios.</p> <p>They suggest that <a href="http://www.lifeskillstraining.com/">Life Skills Training</a> has a cost benefit ratio of 1:42, while the <a href="http://www.air.org/focus-area/education/?id=127">Good Behaviour Game</a> has an almost unbelieveable ratio of 1:96.</p> <p>We wait to see if the alcohol strategy comes from the sort of government that <a href="http://www.drugeducationforum.com/index.cfm?PageURL=media&amp;ArticleID=7930">says</a>, &quot;we should make sure that education programmes are there in our schools and we should make sure that they work.&quot;</p> <p>Or the sort that <a href="http://www.drugeducationforum.com/index.cfm?PageURL=blog&amp;ArticleID=8074&amp;ArticleMonth=">argues</a>:</p> <blockquote>It is not the role of Government to dictate decisions that are best made locally by professionals, so the Department does not issue guidance to local authorities on the commissioning of drug education programmes.&nbsp;</blockquote> <p>I know which I'm hoping for.</p> http://www.drugeducationforum.com/blog/?ArticleID=8096 http://www.drugeducationforum.com/blog/?ArticleID=8096 24 Feb 2012 00:00 GMT Home Affairs Select Committee <p>Earlier this week Paul Tuohy, Chief Executive of <a href="http://www.mentoruk.org.uk/">Mentor</a> and Advisory Group Member of the Drug Education Forum, gave evidence to the Home Affairs Select Committee.&nbsp;</p> <p><script src="http://www.parliamentlive.tv/Embed/js.ashx?10306 460x322"></script></p> <p>The committee are carrying out an investigation into the effectiveness of the drug strategy and <a href="http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/home-affairs-committee/news/120221-drugs-oral-ev-2/">called</a> Paul and Maryon Stewart, the founder of the <a href="http://angelusfoundation.com/">Angelus Foundation</a>, to give evidence on drug education and prevention.</p> <p>Paul used the occasion to raise the uncertainty about the future of the Drug Education Forum. He said:</p> <blockquote>The government have made it really, really clear they are in favour of really strong good drug education. What I'm wondering is where is the evidence for that; the Drug Education Forum, the main central repository for information in this country about drug education since 1995 is set to close next month through lack of funding.</blockquote> <p>He went on to argue that the government should play a more interventionist role in improving the profile and quality of drug education and prevention as part of a balanced drug strategy.</p> <p><iframe width="480" height="274" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/mHw1EVZqH8Q?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> http://www.drugeducationforum.com/blog/?ArticleID=8094 http://www.drugeducationforum.com/blog/?ArticleID=8094 23 Feb 2012 00:00 GMT Fact check: Is there a growth in the acceptability of drunkenness by young people? <p><a href="http://www.number10.gov.uk/news/alcohol-on-nhs/">The Prime Minister</a> talking about alcohol misuse says:</p> <blockquote>Over the last decade we&rsquo;ve seen a frightening growth in the number of people &ndash; many under-age &ndash; who think it&rsquo;s acceptable for people to get drunk in public in ways that wreck lives, spread fear and increase crime.</blockquote> <p>Unfortunately he doesn't reference where the draws his data from to support the claim that drunkenness is increasingly acceptable.</p> <p>But what we do know is that it certainly isn't true of 11 to 15 year olds.</p> <p>The <a href="http://www.ic.nhs.uk/webfiles/publications/003_Health_Lifestyles/Smoking%20drinking%20drug%20use%202010/Smoking_drinking_and_drug_use_among_young_people_in_England_2010_Full_report.pdf">latest</a> annual survey of school pupils carried out for the NHS says:</p> <blockquote>There has been a fall in recent years in the proportion of pupils who think that drinking is acceptable for someone of their age. In 2010, 32% thought it was OK for someone of their age to drink once a week, compared with 46% in 2003. Similarly 11% of pupils thought that it was OK for someone of their age to get drunk once a week, compared with 20% who thought that in 2003.</blockquote> <p><a href="http://www.drugeducationforum.com/images/dynamicImages/documents/documents_12632_279790.png"><img width="477" height="312" vspace="5" hspace="5" alt="" src="http://www.drugeducationforum.com/images/dynamicImages/documents/documents_12632_279790.png" /></a></p> http://www.drugeducationforum.com/blog/?ArticleID=8093 http://www.drugeducationforum.com/blog/?ArticleID=8093 15 Feb 2012 00:00 GMT Can we teach resilience? <p>Last week I went to <a href="http://www.youngfoundation.org/general-/-all/events/can-we-teach-resilience-brigadier-general-rhonda-cornum-emotional-fitness">a lecture</a> by a recently retired Brigadier General from the United States Army, <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rhonda_Cornum">Rhonda Cornum</a>, who was talking about the resilience programme that she&rsquo;d run in the military.</p> <p>The reason why the US&nbsp;military want to create resilience in their soldiers and why we might want to do so for children and young people may be different, but there seemed to be a number of very clear and transferable lessons about introducing programmes and techniques to what may initially seem unpromising institutional cultures.</p> <p>She argued that the military were well equipped when it came to treating problems as they come to light. However, she said that they had almost nothing in place to prevent those problems from occurring in the first place.</p> <p>Their resilience programme is an attempt to address this.</p> <p>The US Army has been running the programme for the last 4 years and in that time have tested over 1.1 million soldiers and have a budget of $125 million. They clearly take this quite seriously.</p> <p>Brigadier Cornum&rsquo;s talk emphasised the following points:</p> <ul> <li>The skills that help people to become resilient are transferable and can be learnt; and being able to practice those skills on small problems will be helpful if and when confronting bigger ones. As she put it, &ldquo;Its not the event its how you cope that matters.&rdquo;</li> <li>Being able to see that failures weren&rsquo;t permanent was critical to developing resilience.</li> <li>Single sessions of training were useless and she made a comparison between emotional and physical fitness; &ldquo;going to gym once won&rsquo;t make you fit, it&rsquo;ll just leave you sore.&rdquo;</li> <li>Their programme uses non-commissioned officers (NCOs) to deliver the training, rather than relying on specialised deliverers such as psychologists or psychiatrists.</li> <li>The NCOs practice the skills they&rsquo;ve been taught at home - gaining insight to their usefulness and honing their own skills - before passing on their knowledge and skills to the squads.</li> </ul> <p>She described three critical elements to embedding and sustaining a programme:</p> <ol> <li><strong>Leadership by-in</strong> - without which the programme won't be delivered.</li> <li><strong>The right metrics </strong>- everyone has to understand what is being measured and what it will tell them.</li> <li><strong>What difference the programme makes</strong> - the economic and social benefits must be clear.</li> </ol> <p>In the Q&amp;A session that followed Brigadier Cornum was asked if she felt resilience could be taught to children and young people (she did) and whether peer education would be a useful approach (she was much less certain of this).</p> <p>She was also reminded that organisations that have a clear hierarchy may have an advantage of implementing programmes over those with more diffuse leadership structures.</p> <p>This struck me as important in our own arena, where government <a href="http://www.drugeducationforum.com/index.cfm?PageURL=blog&amp;ArticleID=8074&amp;ArticleMonth=">doesn't provide guidance</a> on commissioning drug education programmes.</p> <p>And it is here that I turn to Rober Salvin, who is helping the Institute of Effective Education in their work. <a href="http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/sputnik/2012/02/reforming_100000_schools_one_at_a_time.html">He says</a> that he recently got involved in a discussion about bringing to scale evidence based programmes in UK schools and argued:</p> <blockquote>that teachers should have an opportunity to collectively learn about a variety of proven programs appropriate to their school and then vote to adopt one or more of them, or none at all. This way, I argued, teachers would feel committed to whatever they had chosen and implement it with spirit and care.<br /> </blockquote> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> http://www.drugeducationforum.com/blog/?ArticleID=8090 http://www.drugeducationforum.com/blog/?ArticleID=8090 13 Feb 2012 00:00 GMT Research Digest <p>Papers that have recently caught our eye include:</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://bit.ly/zXxr9N"><strong>Sustained Decreases in Risk Exposure and Youth Problem Behaviors After Installation of the Communities That Care Prevention System in a Randomized Trial<br /> </strong></a>Using the CTC system can produce enduring reductions in community-wide levels of risk factors and problem behaviors among adolescents beyond the years of supported implementation, potentially contributing to long-term public health benefits. &nbsp;For a presentation on these findings was given to the European Society for Prevention Research and can be downloaded <a href="http://bit.ly/ABDJTG">here</a>.</li> <li><a href="http://bit.ly/zXxr9N"><strong>Associations Between Displayed Alcohol References on Facebook and Problem Drinking Among College Students</strong><br /> </a>Displayed references to intoxication or problem drinking were positively associated with AUDIT scores suggesting problem drinking as well as alcohol-related injury. Results suggest that clinical criteria for problem drinking can be applied to Facebook alcohol references.</li> <li style="border-style: initial; border-color: initial; "><a href="http://bit.ly/wF06IR"><strong>Differential Impact of a Dutch Alcohol Prevention Program Targeting Adolescents and Parents Separately and Simultaneously</strong></a><br /> The combined intervention (Prevention of Alcohol use in Students (PAS)) was only effective in preventing weekly drinking among those adolescents who reported to have lower self-control and more lenient parents at baseline. No differential effect was found for the onset of heavy weekly drinking. No moderating roles of self-control and lenient parenting were found for the separate student and parent interventions regarding the onset of drinking.</li> <li style="border-style: initial; border-color: initial; "><a href="http://www.delicious.com/redirect?url=http%3A//pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/129/2/205"><strong>Drinking Frequency as a Brief Screen for Adolescent Alcohol Problems</strong><br /> </a>Routine alcohol screening of adolescents in pediatric settings is recommended, and could be facilitated by a very brief empirically validated alcohol screen based on alcohol consumption.</li> <li style="border-style: initial; border-color: initial; "><a href="http://bit.ly/wYF8Au"><strong>Implementation of adolescent family-based substance use prevention programmes in health care settings Comparisons across conditions and programmes</strong><br /> </a>Programme choice appears to increase family engagement in programmes. Future effectiveness trials should assess approaches to integrate evidence-based family prevention programmes with adolescent health services.</li> <li style="border-style: initial; border-color: initial; "><a href="http://bit.ly/wev8Z6"><strong>Identity development as a buffer of adolescent risk behaviors in the context of peer group pressure and control</strong></a><br /> Results confirmed that identity commitment was a buffer of substance use and identity exploration was a buffer of general deviancy in more pressuring peer groups. In more controlling peer groups, teens with greater identity commitment engaged in less risk behavior than teens with low-identity commitment. Thus, identity development may be a suitable target to deter negative effects of peer pressure in high-risk adolescents.</li> <li style="border-style: initial; border-color: initial; "><a href="http://bit.ly/wSmVqA"><strong>The Effectiveness of Mandatory-Random Student Drug Testing: A Cluster Randomized Trial</strong></a><br /> Students subject to MRSDT by their districts reported less substances use in past 30 days compared with students in schools without MRSDT. The program had no detectable spillover effects on the substance use of students not subject to testing. We found no evidence of unintentional negative effects on students' future intentions to use substances, the proportion of students who participated in activities subject to drug testing, or on students' attitudes toward school and perceived consequences of substance use.</li> </ul> <p>&nbsp;</p> http://www.drugeducationforum.com/blog/?ArticleID=8091 http://www.drugeducationforum.com/blog/?ArticleID=8091 13 Feb 2012 00:00 GMT Department seeks partners for reaching young people <p>From the Department of Health <a href="http://www.dh.gov.uk/health/2012/02/reaching-young-people/">website</a>:</p> <blockquote>The Department of Health is seeking partners to help it communicate with young people and those that work with them. It wants to work with organisations from all sectors to develop partnership activity and gain a range of expert perspectives to inform its work. <p>The Department is currently developing a new holistic approach to communicating with young people to improve their health outcomes, and will launch a new marketing programme later this year.</p> <p>Young people face a range of challenges and pressures as they reach adolescence, when many choose to smoke, drink, experiment with drugs and have sex for the first time. Young people often make decisions without access to the right information or a candid discussion with a trusted adult. Accepting that young people will be curious about new experiences, the Department wants to help them be resilient and make more informed choices.</p> <p>If you represent an organisation or brand that works with, or has access to, young people and you would like to work with the Department of Health on this activity, please contact youthpartnerships@dh.gsi.gov.uk.</p> </blockquote> http://www.drugeducationforum.com/blog/?ArticleID=8092 http://www.drugeducationforum.com/blog/?ArticleID=8092 13 Feb 2012 00:00 GMT