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New Drugs Strategy puts prevention at its centre

July 14, 2017

LONDON, 14 JULY 2017 -- The government's new national drug strategy, published today, puts prevention "front and centre", signalling a measurable shift towards evidence-based drugs education and away from 'scare tactics'.

The strategy includes a succession of commitments to prevention and seeks to reduce demand by, "prevent[ing] the onset of drug use, and its escalation at all ages, through universal action combined with more targeted action for the most vulnerable…. and placing a greater emphasis on building resilience and confidence among our young people to prevent the range of risks they face (e.g. drug and alcohol misuse, crime, exploitation, unhealthy relationships)." The strategy also recognises, "the importance of joined-up action on alcohol and drugs, and many areas of the Strategy apply to both, particularly our resilience-based approach to preventing misuse and recovery."

Public Health England has recently re-invested in Mentor-ADEPIS (Alcohol and Drug Education and Prevention Information Service) for three years and during that time Mentor intends to reach one million children with life-skills based drugs education. ADEPIS is widely acknowledged as the leading source of information and tools for drug education and prevention for schools.

The strategy also sets out a clear commitment to "expand ADEPIS to reach wider prevention partners e.g. youth offending teams" and recognises the Good Behaviour Game prevention progamme, trialled by Mentor in primary schools, as an initiative "to prevent substance misuse and crime."

Mentor's CEO, Michael O'Toole, welcomed the strategy, "We are delighted to see prevention is now 'front and centre' in the Government's drugs strategy. There are also some very helpful crossovers into other strategies including crime prevention. The strategy also highlights the need to invest more in evidenced-based drug and alcohol programmes. It makes clear the highly valuable contribution our ADEPIS programme makes in preventing harms to young people. The recent re-investment by Government in ADEPIS is a clear signal of a greater acknowledgment that evidence-based education, building confidence, skills and knowledge, is hugely more productive than scare tactics. Only by building children and young people's resilience and life skills can we expect education programmes to be truly effective at preventing harms later on."

SOURCE: Mentor

Notes for Editors

  1. Mentor UK is the UK's leading charity working to prevent the misuse of alcohol and drugs among children and young people. They run evidence-based programmes in a variety of settings for different groups of young people. Mentor developed ADEPIS, the leading source of alcohol and drug education resources for schools, and now maintains the CAYT repository of impact studies of evidence-based programmes. In the next three years Mentor intends to reach one million children with life-skills based drugs education.
  2. The new national drugs strategy places prevention as a key pillar in reducing demand for drugs, "we must act the earliest opportunity to prevent people taking drugs in the first place and prevent escalation to more harmful use."
  3. The Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs' publication 'Prevention of drug and alcohol dependence' shows a significant change from well-meaning but hard-hitting approaches which could actually be counter-productive in trying to improve young people's attitude and behaviour toward drugs and alcohol.
  4. If you wish to interview Mentor CEO Michael O’Toole, or for any other press enquiries, please contact: or 07932 639797 or Jeremy Sare or 07747 727993.

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