DrugScope, the national membership organisation for the drug sector, has today welcomed the government response to a review of drug education undertaken by the Advisory Group on Drug and Alcohol Education.
The Advisory Group was convened by the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) to examine the effectiveness of information and education on drugs and alcohol, following a commitment in the 2008 Children's Plan.The Advisory Group made three key recommendations in its review - to improve support for parents and carers around drug and alcohol education, to make Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE) a statutory subject and enhance training for teachers, and to improve identification and support for vulnerable young people in schools, colleges and other settings.
DrugScope supports the recommendations of the Advisory Group and welcomes today's response from the government, particularly the acknowledgement that while drug and alcohol education in schools is crucial, it should form one part of a broader strategic approach.Parents, further education colleges and youth services should be involved in drug education and prevention, alongside the police, the media and the wider community. DrugScope welcomes the commitment to increase targeted information for parents through the FRANK campaign and to review guidance on drug and alcohol education for use in Further Education (FE) colleges and non-formal settings.
The government's commitment to provide guidance on the screening and identification of vulnerable young people is welcomed.Young people who are experiencing difficulties with substance misuse must be able to access high quality drug treatment and other services in their local area - and all professionals coming into contact with young people should know where these services are.
Martin Barnes, Chief Executive of DrugScope, commented:
"We welcome today's report and the government's positive response to the recommendations. Drug education is a key part of the armoury against drug and alcohol misuse, but as the report highlights there needs to be a better - and more realistic - understanding of what it can achieve, particularly in schools. Many factors can influence drug use.Sadly, we cannot inoculate young people against using drugs with just a few hours drug education in the classroom.
"Drug education needs to go hand in hand with better identification of potential problems and early intervention.We welcome the government's commitment that substance misuse will be a key part of children's workforce development but this also needs to be a requirement for professionals in wider social work and social care."
# October 23, 2008