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Sandwell - An initiative of substance

Five-year-olds in Sandwell are to learn about prescription drugs, while six-year-olds battle with alcoholism, as part of a new drug awareness scheme.

The new resource, to be introduced across the authority, will use cartoons and group activities to teach pupils about the dangers of hard and soft drugs.

In Year 1, pupils will be taught about prescription drugs and dangers in the home and learn how to cope under pressure.

In Year 2, children will be taught about the dangers of alcohol, while Year 3 pupils will learn about the risks of cigarette smoking. By Year 4, pupils will be using role-play and classroom exercises to examine addiction to aerosols and glue.

In Year 5, pupils will once again look at the dangers involved in smoking tobacco, while children in Year 6 will focus on illegal drugs.

Each topic will be accompanied by a short film, featuring the cartoon characters Dog, Duck and Cat. The characters will play out a situation on screen, which pupils will then be invited to discuss.

For example, Year 3 pupils will be shown a film in which Duck is shocked when Dog, in imitation of his father, lights up a cigarette. Cat then tells them both that Nan had to go to hospital because she had a smoking-related illness.

The resource, developed by Sandwell Council's drug education, counselling and confidential advice team, has already been piloted in 10 primaries across the authority.

Jon Bull, who was involved in developing the programme, said: "The message is to be responsible, be a good friend and be aware of the situations you are in.

"Although drug use isn't necessarily a problem among primary school pupils, they need to be aware of the dangers of substances." AB.

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