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Bus ride to responsibility;Drug Abuse

Many elements of society are working together to stop young people taking a trip into a lost future.

People on the estates and in rural areas around Kingswood, near Bristol, don't have to go far for information on drugs - it is quite likely to turn up on their doorstep. The Kingswood Bus Project aims to take the drugs message to young people who do not usually come into contact with youth workers.

And there is little chance of them not seeing the bus. Volunteers have covered it with brightly-coloured graffiti to help attract attention. One side has a picture of a crazy professor, while on the other side is the slogan "Know the score".

The bus features an arts and crafts workshop, discussion area and coffee-making facilities to create an informal and friendly atmosphere. There are leaflets on the dangers of drugs and at least two qualified youth workers on duty.

The aim of the bus project, one of 23 local schemes backed by the pharmaceuticals giant Glaxo Wellcome, is to encourage young people to talk about their problems. The project is aimed mainly at 11 to 20-year-olds. Every night, as the bus parks in various parts of the area, a couple of dozen people are likely to climb on board.

"We talk to the young people about whatever they want to raise," says June Yeoman, who runs the project. "Kids like to sit and talk. The aim is to provide somewhere they can get advice and information and find someone to talk to.

"We don't preach or lecture to them. We just try to help them along the way."

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