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Schools take drugs crusade on board

Drug education is now the norm in primaries and secondaries, the Scottish Executive confirmed this week. Some 97 per cent of schools now run programmes on everything from controlled drugs to cigarettes, drink and solvents.

Jack McConnell, Education Minister, congratulated the four authorities - North Ayrshire, North Lanarkshire, South Lanarkshire and West Dunbartonshire - that already provide for every pupil in line with national advice and urged others to meet the target by next year.

Mr McConnell said: "It is essential that we provide young people with the information they need to enable them to make sensible and informed choices and develop sound lifestyles and healthy living."

The second annual survey on drug education shows that virtually all secondaries are involved while 98 per cent of primaries and 80 per cent of special schools have active programmes.

But only 81 per cent of schools say they provide drug education in line with current national advice. Some 92 per cent of schools provide for each pupil and 87 per cent say pupils will receive education that provides continuity and progression.

More than six out of 10 schools have revised their drug education programmes in the past two years and three out of 10 have gone through a revision in the past five. Only six out of 10 schools have written procedures for incidents of drugs misuse but that figure is up by 12 per cent over the previous year.

Alistair Ramsay, chief executive of Scotland Against Drugs, described the figures as "very encouraging". "It is clear schools have been able to identify a proper role to prevent the misuse of drugs in their communities," Mr Ramsay said.

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