Where to find information and advice about drugs and alcohol
People had very different experiences of getting information about drugs and alcohol. Joe was influenced by a Government-funded alcohol awareness campaign and Jamie considers himself lucky that his father talked to him about drugs and alcohol from an early age.
Jamie lives with his girlfriend, works for an electrical engineering company, and is studying to be an electrical engineer. Jamie thinks that children should be taught, at an early age, by their parents and teachers about the dangers of drinking too much alcohol. Ethnic background: White.
The problem is there’s a lot of relationships with children and parent where they are either too embarrassed to ask it or they just haven’t got that relationship, you know, with their parents. You know my parents I’ve got an open relationship with them and I, if, if they ask the question they get the truth, and they know that, you know, so if they don’t want to know the answer they don’t ask the question. but I think some kids maybe don’t get exposed to alcohol at an age so they kind of go and try and a little, they don’t talk about drugs because the parents kind of think ‘well no let’s not talk about drugs because they’ll go and try them’ instead of maybe talking about the drugs and what the consequences are and everything like that for the kid to kind of think ‘well I don’t need to experiment because I know what it does you know?’ if they know that LSD kind of can make you, I mean my Dad like, you know, told me about LSD when I was kind of ten years old, and he told me when he worked in a Police Station that there was a lad in a cell screaming to high heaven because he thought there was a giant tarantula in the
cell with him, now, knowing that at ten years old am I going to go and try LSD knowing that that kind of terrifying experience could happen? And there’s no control over what experience I have, you know, having spoken to people now, some people have good experiences, you know, as you probably know, you hear, “Oh I had a bad trip.” There’s, what there is absolutely nothing that controls that situation whether you have a good or bad trip so why put you in that, put yourself in that position where if you have one of those bad trips you’re going to have a lot of hours of very horrible experiences? So I don’t understand the point ofdoing it, putting yourself in that situation.
Knowing these things you don’t, you don’t kind of experiment with them. I think, the thing is you need to get, the, that message needs to be put across at quite a young age, I think, because as I keep saying, you know, fifteen years old people are going clubbing, that’s probably not the first time they’ve had a drink or been exposed to drugs, the message needs to be quite early, you know, when, drum it into them kind of thing that, you know, the goods, the good, the bad and the consequences of all of these actions because if they go and find it themselves I think that’s when the problems happen.
Age at interview:
Joe works in administration. He's single and shares a flat with friends. He is interested in health and fitness, jogs regularly and recently ran a marathon for charity.
Are you aware of the long term effect of drinking high levels of alcohol?
Yes, I think it’s something that’s brought up in the media quite a lot, particularly in Scotland, Scotland’s got quite a, quite a bad reputation for, for yeah alcohol abuse, it’s one of the, one of the main strains on the health service in Scotland I think is alcoholism, or high levels yeah so, yeah I’m aware, I’m aware of it it’s, I think it’s a bigger problem in the west coast of Scotland than the east coast so, and I can’t say any of my family have got, yes have a problem kind of alcohol problems so not directly, I’ve, I’ve not been involved in it but again from the media I’m aware of the, yeah the long term implications of yeah alcohol abuse.
And do you think the health information put forward in Scotland by the Government or the health service, has had any influence on you, on your behaviour, on your attitude to alcohol?
Yeah probably the, they have a campaign aimed at sort of my age group I’d say, I remember they had posters, probably about two years ago which, they, the message hit you pretty hard and it was, they had adverts on tv as well actually but it’s, it seemed mainly targeted at the youth binge drinking sort of culture, you know, where do you draw the line? Where’s too much? And it would have... have [sighs] they were, they were good adverts and then they’d have posters that would remind you of the TV adverts but it was basically showing the same person on the same night out and two different paths they could take, one was having too much to drink and falling over the pavement and falling out the taxi, and losing their, their wallet or their bag and being sick and losing shoes and just what, yeah what can be associated with someone who’s had too muchalcohol and then one, someone who’s not had too much but still had a, they’ve still had a few, had a good time but been responsible, and then they’d have these posters on the bus stops sort of just like, like someone lying in the gutter, sick in their hair and just, like I say like a shoe missing sort of thing.
I’d, I’m trying to remember, what the, what the main catchphrase was but it had Drink Aware at the bottomyou know? and they were pretty vivid pictures, I remember that being quite a good campaign which made you think about, yeah it made you think about how much you’d have when you’re on a night out and, maybe if you were tempted to like get carried away and keep drinking, you know it made you stop and think
But some people felt that the information they got about drugs was patchy and unbalanced. Harry described the information available as being either ‘doom or gloom’, or other young people talking about ‘how wonderful drugs are’. Charlie thinks that young people ignore information about drugs because it puts so much emphasis on the risks. This is especially true if they see other people their age using drugs and not coming to any obvious harm. A few people said that balanced, fact-based information would help people who use drugs to use them more safely.
University student, taking a year off and working as a volunteer with a student drug reform organisation called Students for Sensible Drug Policy.
There’s an entire harm reduction movement in drugs world, where the message is' here are the different ways you can reduce the harms drugs cause to you. There’s a lot of tips around drug use which would be distributed more widely even in the context of an anti-drugs campaign. Stuff like, don’t snort using a fiver, it’s really infectious – don’t share whatever you snort through, tenners or straws. Test your pills with a testing kit.
There’s lots of basic practical advice that isn’t widely distributed. The problem is people think that’s condoning drug use. I’m not quite sure why people think it’s condoning drug use, but the general line is ’You can’t tell people how to reduce the harms because then you’re accepting that they’ve taken drugs in the first place, and you shouldn’t because drugs are bad’. Which is stupid really, because the entire point is to make drugs less bad. It’s like, “Don’t tell people things that make drugs less harmful because drugs are harmful”. It’s rubbish. You can’t be moralistic about this kind of stuff, it’s a bad attitude to take if you’re serious about health.
And I think most health professionals probably aren’t moralistic about it. Most people in the drugs field certainly aren’t moralistic about drug use because they couldn’t do their jobs if they were. But the government is very moralistic, as are a lot of the press and especially the political right. The government decides its policy based on the fact that if they changed it, they would get voted out.
Drug users need everyone to stop seeing drugs as a moral issue or a criminal justice issue. It’s a health issue. And when people see it as a health matter, you can give out this kind of information more freely and people aren’t going to be going, ‘Oh it’s condoning drug use’. Because it’s evidently not, it’s just trying to reduce the harm to people who take drugs. Even in some cases, you know, not killing them as much which is only a good thing. But the moralistic people (the ones who have the loudest voices) stop that information from being given out.
Other people said that there was a need for more information about the physical, mental and social risks of using drugs. They wanted more “detailed” and “realistic” information about the effects and features of different drugs. Harry said that he wanted more detailed information about how different drugs work.
Where to get drugs and alcohol information and advice
People’s experiences of getting information on drugs and alcohol from schools could be very different. Many felt disappointed with the information and the way it was given. Bekky thinks teachers need to be trained to deliver good drugs and alcohol education. But Alex A said he got the most useful information about drugs from school. Chloe said that there is not as much factual information about drugs as there is for alcohol. Other people agreed that generally the quality of information about alcohol was good but in schools they tended to receive more information about drugs, and very little about alcohol.
Bekky studies full-time and lives with her parents and her sibling in a small town in the north of England. British.
I’ve got some information from school but I don’t think it, people are made aware enough. People just think if you drink then you’ll damage your liver but or you’ll act stupid. That’s about it. Nobody really knows like nobody’s really given examples about what could happen. They just think, ‘Oh it damages your liver, that’s it.’ They don’t know in detail what happens I don’t think.
And how much information and where did your information come from about drugs?
Well I wouldn’t really say that I know a lot about them so I wouldn’t really say I’ve been given a lot of information about them. I think there’s just bits from school and then a couple of TV adverts and then from what my parents have told me, and from what my friends have told me.
Ok so at school is it the PHSE class?
Yeah. But I don’t think they, I don’t think the teachers are really aware about it to teach other people. I think that teachers should be taught before they try and teach us about it because none of them really know much. They’re just sat looking at a sheet and just saying it so it don’t really sink in.
What information do you think is important and relevant to pass on to young people about drugs?
I think not many people are made aware about how easily people can get addicted and dependent on drugs. Because some people think, ‘Oh just once it will be fine. I’ll not do it again’. And then a couple of weeks later they’ll think, ‘Oh I’ll do it again. Last time I did it were a couple of weeks ago. It’s not like it were yesterday so I’ll do it again.’ And then they keep that attitude and then sooner or later it’s like day in day out with they’re wanting drugs and coming dependent and they’re like throwing their life away because that’s all they care about.
Age at interview:
Stefanie lives with her partner and works full time in the film and television industry. She felt a lot of pressure from others in school to take drugs, but has always avoided it. At school she was warned against drugs but not alcohol. Ethnic background: White British.
But I have an interesting point I’d like to say about wine that I feel is something I don’t think people realise. When I was younger at school they talked about. My education they talked about drugs really well and it was around the time that a couple of girls had died of Ecstasy in clubs so they were very, very hot on talking about that but no one really ever told us about alcohol.
I don’t know what it’s like now because I imagine people, the government has put in a lot more effort into alcohol nowadays. But when I was 15 alcohol is something I see my parents do all the time. I was allowed a glass of wine at a wedding. And I genuinely had no idea how alcoholic wine was because in my childlike understanding I was allowed wine at a wedding therefore it mustn’t be so bad. It was only when I started to get some pretty bad hangovers I realised how bad wine, how alcoholic wine is.
Drugs, alcohol and sex education is usually discussed in PSHE lessons in school. Some people described the lessons as ‘boring’, and paid very little attention to what was said. For Hugh, Ben and Alex, PSHE lessons were ‘like a break’ from school work and routine and no one, including the teacher, seemed to be interested in the lessons.
Hugh is a first year university student who found that drinking at university was very different from drinking as a teenager. Ben is a first year university student who changed his drinking habits from school, through his gap year and at university. Alex is a first year university student. He drank as a teenager to build his confidence. His drinking habits changed when he started university.
Hugh' I think it was Year 9. I remember it being Year 9 with friends but obviously with family long before that. And the information was kind of provided by. But we used to have I think was it PHSE, our school used to kind of give us kind of vague information.
Ben' Yeah they didn’t really tell us much [um] I don’t think. I seem to remember like our school being quite bad about anything regarding kind of alcohol or drugs...
Ben' sex education. I don’t think we were really told that much.
Hugh' I think we had it but it was in a lesson which was kind of considered a kind of a doss so to speak. So I don’t think people really took it that seriously.
Hugh' It was kind of the lesson, the period where people would kind of relax and it wasn’t that important.
Ok so the people didn’t take the lessons seriously?
Hugh' Yeah. And I don’t think the teachers did it either. It wasn’t really considered. I don’t think we had kind of trained...
Ben' It was just like one hour a week or maybe one hour every two weeks.
Hugh' I remember having my P.E. teacher used to take it.
Hugh' And I don’t think they did anything about kind of sexual health or drugs.
What do you think it would have made a difference for you to notice those lessons more?
Ben' Maybe like.
Hugh' I think it’s the age, at that age. You, what before Year 9 when we were kind of 13 and 14 and still kind of. I mean the videos were all kind of quite, no one took it really seriously. But when we got to 6th form they used to get actual speakers would come in who’d had kind of really, kind of well, big experiences on drugs or something and that would be much more kind of useful because it would be firsthand experience not from a kind of P.E. teacher. That’s what I found.
Raphael is a full-time public sector worker, and is getting married soon. Ethnic background: White.
What about school?
Again I think when you’re younger you’re a bit more naïve, you don’t really, I mean they had, they had like loads of posters and so it was always there like to make sure like you don’t do it too sort of thing, there’s all these signs and teachers would talk about it as well, but I think the, and I think when you’re younger you’re a lot more naïve, you don’t really take into account what they’re actually saying, and I think in a way it will become a bit more intriguing and a bit more, curious, become a lot more curious I think.
Okay. At what age do you think it would be a good idea to start giving young people more information and advice about drugs and alcohol?
I know you need to start when you’re younger because of, that’s quite a lot of the times where the peer pressure comes in and stuff but, I don’t think people notice it until maybe nineteen, eighteen, nineteen and then they might become a bit, a bit more mature and take into account what you’re saying but I think when you’re talking like fourteen, fifteen, you’re too busy talking to your mate in the back of the class to, to realise what, what they’re actually talking about.
Emma thinks schools are limited in what they can teach about alcohol because some parents might see it as encouraging their son or daughter to drink.
Frank and Wikipedia were said to be useful websites for information about drugs. Frank is a Government-funded website that has tried to be much more open in its discussion of drugs and their possible effects. Peter used the web to understand more about the blackouts he used to have when very drunk. Jamie searched online for the drug MDMA after he was offered it at a festival. Charlie did a lot of research on drugs before using them. Chloe pointed out that the internet is also being used to sell illegal drugs and there’s a need to regulate it.
University student, taking a year off and working as a volunteer with a student drug reform organisation called Students for Sensible Drug Policy.
Talk to Frank is the government’s main resource on drugs. It’s OK. In the US they don’t even admit that drug use can make people feel good. Government drug websites there totally ignore that Ecstasy makes you feel good – anyone who got their information from a US drug website would wonder what the hell it was called Ecstasy for. They’ll say – Ecstasy gives you headaches, makes your muscles use a lot of energy, can make you shiver, can give you insomnia, a racing heartbeat… but never once mention the fact that it makes you feel good.
That’s insane and a lot of countries have official information like that. The UK is a bit better. The health information that Frank gives out is reasonable. It’s reasonable, but – well, what they say may be factually correct but the way they put emphasis is quite sneaky. They always emphasise the negatives, make them sound really bad, common experiences, that would strike at any time and there’s nothing you can do about it. Frank doesn’t tell you why the bad things happen, just that they do. So the information isn’t that intelligent.
If 40 people die a year from Ecstasy in the UK and you have (I think) one million uses per weekend, then intelligently you’re looking at an astonishingly small number of uses causing death. This makes it a relatively safe drug. But in the discourse Frank perpetrates, drugs “go wrong” randomly and for unknown reasons. You can’t control them. And sometimes that’s right, but for Ecstasy, there are pretty clear ways people die – they drink too much water or too little water, they take too many pills or they have a severe allergic reaction. That last one happens so very very rarely, too.
Frank doesn’t help you make sense of that.
Age at interview:
Emma is a first year university student and is on a University sports team. Heavy drinking every week is part of team building. She tries to be responsible by knowing her limits with alcohol. Ethnic background: White British.
If I was worried I would turn to the internet, I would just search it I think, that’s probably where most people would go, and I’m sure there’s, I mean like ‘Youthhealthtalk’ [laughs], there’s good websites available with information and help and then I think you take it from there, you would talk to your other friends about it and just, you know, ask if they’ve noticed anything, yeah I think there is, there is a, there’s enough if you wanted to find the resources to help someone out, I don’t think you would feel like, there wasn’t what you were looking for, there’s, you know, there’s the resources available for you if you wanted them I think.
What do you think a website should have that would be relevant, useful?
Contact numbers, other, yeah other websites maybe [sighs].
Okay, what about the quality of information? Where would you, which type of information would you trust?
I think you look for perhaps names you know, I think would be something or like websites with credibility behind them, and researchers or, you know, what, scientific fact, you know? But I, I think on the whole you would be, it wouldn’t be, you know, you would, I think you would trust what information you
found on the internet, if there was you know the first out of ten million it, you know, you would hope that it was a site that other people were using as credibility, you know, knows what it’s talking about, and I think as an aspect of commonsense to knowing, you know, maybe you could talk to your GP, I, I think you, you would betrustingand you would know what to look for.
Okay so you, you would talk to a GP?
If you were at a point where, you know, if the website had said go talk to a GP about it, if then you might do that, but I think you would look on the internet first I’d.
People had different opinions about the role of the media in providing information on drugs and alcohol. They talked about reports of celebrities who have drug problems. Some thought it was good to raise awareness and others felt that some TV shows make drug use seem ‘glamorous’.
Charities and community organisations
Some people mentioned specific young people’s projects that provide information, advice, support and encouragement when dealing with drugs or alcohol issues (see ‘Treatments for substance and alcohol abuse’).
Chloe works with young people with complex and special educational needs. She lives at home with her mother and younger sister. Ethnic background: mixed other.
Tell me a little bit more about Involve Are they a national organisation or a London-based organisation?
Yeah Involve is a national organisation. Most of our services are within London but we do have ones in Bath and Birmingham and we’re looking to also spread to other places. They’re originally a drugs treatment service but have always specialised around working with young people. Yeah they do drugs treatment, drugs education and then they also do alternative education. So those other things like the music production, journalism, media, you can do volunteering NVQ.
So you are volunteering with them or?
I get, I work with them. I’m a member of their team so I get paid for teaching the Drugs Awareness course which. When I did the course it was an OCN accredited learning course but I’ve rewritten the course myself and now I’ve mapped it to an NCFE qualification so it’s the equivalent to a GCSE. And that’s what I teach. I wrote the course and now teach it.
I joined In-volve which was in the December when I was 17. So I did the drugs awareness course that I teach now. I did that course and it opened my mind to what the effects of the drugs were and how it was actually working on my body and drugs culture as well. And like what the bigger picture of what drugs fund like sex trafficking, people trafficking and sex trafficking Taliban and things like that, 93% of heroin and stuff. And so that definitely helped.
Age at interview:
Jen is married, a university graduate, and works full-time as a press officer. Jen grew up in a small village and her school friends would go out to drink vodka on weekends, which her parents didn't like. Some people she knew took ecstasy and speed. She tried cannabis but avoided drugs like ecstasy because she was afraid of what would happen. Ethnic background: British
You went to Sunday school so you discussed about these things so that also was a source?
Yeah absolutely. Not so much in Sunday School probably more in like we had a Youth Fellowship group on a Sunday Night and that’s when you’d all try to talk about, you know, difficult issues for teenagers and, you know, sex, drugs and alcohol were high up on the agenda [laugh].
It was usually embarrassing we were all like 14/15 and it was really embarrassing having to talk about it with, yeah it was just not good.
It was all these people like in the church and stuff and you just knew them and they knew your mum and dad and you were just scared to kind of be like quite honest because you’re like well they might say, ‘[aaaahh]’.
Ok but they were your parents’ age or closer to your age?
Somewhere in between probably. Some of them were more close to my parents like there was the minister’s wife and so and they were like the same age as my mum and dad. They were quite good friends with my mum and dad. And it just felt weird talking about. You just didn’t want to talk about things with them it was just like, ‘Yeah’.
Yes sex and...?
Yeah you just like no, no. And they try to be like, ‘Oh it’s cool you can say whatever you want and no one will sit’.
But you’re just like, ‘You know what I’ll do is say something very embarrassing then like next Sunday it will be like, ‘Hi how’s it going’. So no.
[laugh] That’s a no no. What about school?
Yeah we had Social Ed which was like with our registered class we’d have that once a week and you talk about issues again that were affecting teenagers like bullying and all that sort of things and sex and drugs came into that as well. That was far more boring because it was done from a very kind of. Like our teacher just, he was our English teacher and he had to take us for it. He was just like not interested in this really embarrassing sort of... So in the end that didn’t. So that again.
For him or for?
I think it was just embarrassing for everyone as well to be honest with you. So I don’t think anyone really learned much from that now.
Age at interview:
Kayleigh is married and lives with her husband and their two small children. She worked full-time until a couple of years ago but now she describes herself as a 'stays at home mum'. She is involved in the activities of her local YWCA [now Platform 51] and her children attend their creche. Ethnic background: British.
It was only really, well because we did our own alcohol project here.
In like the end of last year so it was sort of August, September last year, and then that was the first time I actually knew anything about units to, oh no I had seen the labels on the bottles too but I didn’t really pay any attention [laughs] you know? Because when you’re out you sort of, I remember you know you’d always had enough, well this, this is how we used to judge it anyway, you always knew you had enough when you just couldn’t remember things anymore, so like if you were drinking and you got to the point where you were just like, “[Puzzled noise].” And then you think ‘that’s enough’, or you felt sick, that was the only [laughs], that was the only information I had, you know, regarding how much you should drink.
It was only, like I said when we did our own project and we looked into it and we, we searched it I realised how, that I realised first that I was binge drinking because I didn’t think it was binge drinking I thought I was having a good time.
University and college students were aware of several organisations they could approach if in need of advice and information, for example student unions, Nightline, Connexions. Ben was given lots of leaflets with contact details of relevant groups at the start of his first year. Emma said that her university understood that students drink a lot so information and support about alcohol was widely available. Her university also surveyed students about the amount of alcohol they drank at the start and end of their first year. Chloe suggested that there should be more walk-in centres where young people can go and get information and advice.
Learning from others’ experiences
People who had used drugs said that they’d learnt a lot through their own experiences and many young people said that drugs and alcohol information would be more relevant and ‘real’ coming from someone young, talking about their personal experiences. They thought that, as teenagers, they would have been impressed by someone of a similar age coming to their school and talking about the effect of drugs in their lives.
Jim lives with his partner and their baby. He works as a retail assistant. He plans to study and wants to work as a drug education practitioner. Ethnic background: White British.
I think the best thing is to seek knowledge from people who have had drugs experience themselves before you try drugs because you don’t know what you are getting yourself into. When I started to use heroin I’d only used cannabis before that and tried a few other drugs. And I thought, ok I knew it was highly addictive but I thought it was just the same as being addicted to cannabis but worse, worse in that you’re just going to crave it. I didn’t know there was any physical element to withdrawal symptoms. You know, I thought I’d still be able to get up in the morning and function. And that’s not the case you can’t, you can’t move. You can’t do anything. It just grips you. So yeah make sure you know what you are doing before you try it.
At school because you said you started using cannabis when you were 13/14 did you receive any information at school at that age about sort of drugs?
We did yeah but it was very, very limited, very limited indeed. It was just the very basics.
Do you remember what they told you about at that time?
To put it in a nutshell it was basically drugs are bad, don’t touch them and that was it. That was all you get. That is basically all you get.
What do you think would be useful to give to them?
I think some time alone in a controlled environment with people who have had experiences on drugs would be helpful. Just so they can have some personal time and have a conversation about it and where they’ve been and what they’ve done and all the rest of it to get some idea of what happens when you start using drugs. And obviously that’s going to be different with every different type of drug, you know, but it will give you some sort of insight.
Ok so firsthand
Someone who has the firsthand experience would be useful.
Obviously that could be backed up by factual knowledge as well.
Age at interview:
Kasim lives alone on a council estate. He has enrolled in a 13 week hairdressing course, and has a college placement. Ethnic background: Mixed race. Karis lives alone on a council estate. After leaving school she got an apprenticeship at a nursery and goes to college once a week. She hopes to pursue a career in childcare. Ethnic background: Black British.
Kasim' I think with professors and staff a lot of them are very, how could I say it, old fashioned. And they’re not very clued up with drugs in general. They do know a bit about them and stuff but I think maybe. I think maybe I think if we had a drug education in school. Did we?
Karis' Not really, not anything.
Kasim' I think we had sex education
Karis' Yeah but nothing
Kasim' But that wasn’t even do you know. And I think if we had, I don’t know maybe if they organised something for, organised a person or even, yeah organised a person or a group of teenagers or something that have been through drug-related experiences and stuff to come into like high school
Karis' And talk about it, yeah
Kasim' And talk about it but
Karis' And talk about it in depth and things
Kasim' But in a way where the young person can relate to the person they are talking to them about. Because if you, I don’t know, with me because when I was a teaching assistant, a youth worker I found out that a lot of the kids related to me better because of my age and stuff. And I think age does have a big part to play with it because I mean if you’re say, I don’t know, 17, 18 and you’re telling me about weed and stuff it’s just going to go in one ear and out the other.
Kasim' Make it fun and make it memorable for the young people. Do you know what I mean like so they can go home and it wouldn’t. Just don’t make it an ordinary boring lesson, you know, like definitely because that would help, that would help a lot if they properly nipped everything on the bud about weed and the side effects and
Karis' All the effects, yeah
Kasim' But make it fun like make it fun for them to learn about it. So it’s not just a sit down and oh mister so and so is just waffling on again, you know. Look at him like, do you know what I mean. I think if you make it fun.
Age at interview:
Alex goes to college full-time and works as a barman at weekends. He plans to go to university. He lives with his parents and two stepsisters. His family only drinks alcohol occasionally. British.
Where does your information come from regarding drugs, illicit drugs?
School like mostly because we do a lot about drugs and we like, people will come in and talk to us about drugs and alcohol.
Do you think that has helped?
Yeah, yeah, yeah a lot more than like my mum and dad do. They don’t help me, you get more educated about drugs at school than you do at home.
Probably, something that would work for me is like having an ex drug user tell me like, ‘This is what I used to be’. And like you see how he’s changed and what happened to him like because he’s there telling you in first-hand what happened, what he did when he was on drugs. And then you’d like think, ‘Ah look what it can do’. That would probably work better for me like if an ex drug user came in.
So personal experience.
Oh yeah, yeah.
Steph and Stephanie both felt that ‘shock tactics’ were an effective way of trying to make young people aware of drugs and its effects.
Steph has a four-year-old daughter and has another baby on the way. She lives with her partner. Her mother had a heroin addiction, and Steph was adopted by someone who became an alcoholic. Ethnic background: White British
There needs to be more of a shock value. Maybe real life stories of people actually going in there, you know. For example I think I’d be scared if my mum had actually come in to my classroom at 37, not me personally but obviously went into a classroom at 37 and said, ‘Look I’ve lost 6 children. I’m highly addicted to heroin over the years.’ And obviously can’t calculate how much she’s actually put on that addiction, you know. And it might, you know I’m not saying obviously to try that at school but you definitely might try some drugs and then, you know, because there’s different forms of where you can take heroin and things like that but maybe they would go on to that or maybe they’ve seen it around them and not wondered or thought, you know, ‘Oh come on it’s cool’ and things like that and it’s really not. I reckon if people were to go into a school or even 6th Form at that age and things like that really, obviously youth clubs and, you know to get the real shock value of actually someone saying, ‘Look I’ve got nothing to show for my age at 37’. You know that would be a real shock value rather than so much. I’d say that would probably in my opinion, get more across than somebody giving out a leaflet saying, ‘Three units a day’ and things like that sort of thing to a young person.
Last updated: January 2015 Review date: January 2017