Parents outraged as cannabis smoking tips are handed to students by school
'Know Cannabis': A 20-page booklet which provides tips on the best way to smoke the drug is being hand out at to school children (file photo)
Parents have reacted with fury after a booklet which provides tips on the best way to smoke cannabis and the benefits of the drug was handed out to school children.
The 'Know Cannabis' booklets, which is given to teenagers preparing for GCSEs, includes advice on whether to use bongs or buckets and how to roll joints.
It is not until page 14 of the 20-page booklet that readers are told that cannabis is actually illegal, just before the information that under-18s can be arrested three times before they will be prosecuted.
The news comes a day after Cannabis was officially reclassified from Class C to Class B.
Parents in the North East have demanded the booklets be removed from schools after claiming they are advertising the drug.
Aimed at youngsters, it includes advice on how best to take the drug.
It carries the cost of 'vaporisers' which are a 'less risky' way to take the drug and warn not to roll a cannabis cigarette with too many cigarette papers as 'three skinners will do'.
The booklets begin by telling youngsters to 'Know the effects, how it is used, the risks, and how to avoid them'.
North East councils including Northumberland only use the booklets with known drug-users they are trying to help with their habit - but they are widely used in North Tyneside.
One 45-year-old mum from North Tyneside said she was outraged when her 15- year-old asthmatic son came home and told her he had been given 'a lesson on how to smoke cannabis safely'.
'At first I thought he was joking about it. To discuss smoking with an asthmatic child without explaining the extra dangers to people with lung problems is incredibly irresponsible,' she said.
'Then he showed me the cannabis booklet. I was furious when I read it, parts of it are designed like an advert for the stuff.
'What is this school thinking of? The only way to avoid the risks of illegal drugs is to keep well away from them.'
North Tyneside Council said the booklet was part of the National Drugs Education Programme, aimed at alerting Year 11 students to the risks of drug misuse, and that no complaints had been received from parents.
But the mother, who did not want to be named to protect her son, added: ‘The booklet does mention the dangers of cannabis use. But this is mixed in with messages that suggest cannabis use is normal and 'acceptable' even, which I am sure most parents will disagree with.
The booklet is produced by Merseyside-based HIT, which provides 'social marketing campaigns' on drugs and alcohol and sexual health, which said it did not mean to encourage drug use and would be happy to listen to any complaints.
A North Tyneside Council spokeswoman said: ‘The materials referred to are used across the nation by schools as part of the National Drugs Education Programme.
‘The aim of the programme is to alert Year 11 students to the risks and harm caused by drug misuse.
‘No complaints have been raised with the school or local authority in relation to these materials.’
North Tyneside's Conservative mayoral candidate Linda Arkley said: "We should be sending a message to children that drugs damage your health and aren't any good for you.
The Department for Children Schools and Families said it did not dictate what children were taught about drugs and content of drug education are taken at local level.
Sunderland Council said it used HIT material, but only where a child was already known to be using drugs.
By Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 8:23 AM on 27th January 2009
Dear Drugs-Forum readers: We are a small non-profit that runs one of the most read drug information & addiction help websites in the world. We serve over 4 million readers per month, and have costs like all popular websites: servers, hosting, licenses and software. To protect our independence we do not run ads. We take no government funds. We run on donations which average $25. If everyone reading this would donate $5 then this fund raiser would be done in an hour. If Drugs-Forum is useful to you, take one minute to keep it online another year by donating whatever you can today. Donations are currently not sufficient to pay our bills and keep the site up. Your help is most welcome. Thank you.