Government Urged to Act on Alcohol Education

b2ap3_thumbnail_alcohol-sales_20130417-112655_1.jpgThe coalition government has been urged to take action to educate the country's youngsters about the dangers of alcohol abuse, as many parents believe not enough is being done to prevent addiction issues.


Mitch Winehouse, the father of late singer Amy Winehouse - who suffered from alcoholism and drug dependency before her death in 2011 - has demanded a change in the way children are taught about substance abuse after claiming current provision is "not fit for purpose".

Speaking at the launch of a new programme to support and inform pupils, parents and teachers on the dangers of drug and alcohol use, Mr Winehouse noted that funding for preventative education has dropped by 87 per cent in two years.

The former London taxi driver, who since founded the Amy Winehouse Foundation that running the scheme - said education is currently either "inconsistent or non-existent", while teachers often misunderstand the reasons why people turn to drugs and alcohol in the first place.

Research carried out as part of a joint investigation by the charity and Addaction revealed 84 per cent of the 4,000 respondents with school age children believe substance abuse is a "serious problem".

On top of this, only 33 per cent of participants argued that schools provide adequate education to little ones about the dangers the substances pose to their physical and emotional wellbeing.

As a result, the foundation has established the Resilience programme, which is set to effectively change drug and alcohol education in the UK for the better.

The programme, which will originally be rolled out in ten different locations across England, will be run by people who are in recovery following an addiction who will share their own experiences in a bid to give youngsters a better understanding of the misuse of drugs and alcohol.

Commenting on the scheme, Mr Winehouse said: "Parents are hugely concerned about the problems, but drug and alcohol education isn't on the national curriculum. And in the few areas of the UK that do have programmes, these only happen once or twice a year and don't include any teacher training, parent engagement or ongoing student support.

"It was in direct response to these problems that we set up our new programme. We believe it will effectively change drug and alcohol education in this country for the better."

The new scheme is set to reduce substance misuse and antisocial behaviour from taking place in local communities by increasing awareness among youngsters regarding the issues associated with drugs and alcohol.

In addition, it aims to raise levels of resilience, self-esteem and resistance to peer pressure, as well as accessing specialist support and treatment among pupils, teachers and parents.

Training for teachers will be provided through Addaction's Skills 4 Change programme, which has seen 86 per cent of enrolled pupils report an improved ability to cope both at home and at school due to professional help they have received.

The Amy Winehouse Foundation is also set to provide support and targeted intervention work in those areas where Addaction does not deliver young people's services.

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