Columbian cocaine damage

4th April 2008 at 01:00
Pupils at two Ayrshire schools have been exposed to drugs education from a new perspective - the environmental damage that the illegal cocaine trade in Colombia has on its fragile eco-system.

Ana Maria Caballero, an adviser to the vice-president of Colombia, visited Grange Academy in Kilmarnock and Girvan Academy last month to deliver the hard-hitting message that cocaine is not - as some people believe - a clean drug, but has caused deforestation of the tropical rainforest and contamination to Colombia's rivers.

Pupils were shown a video of the diverse wildlife under threat from cocaine, part of an information pack produced by the Colombian Government, which it hopes will be distributed to schools worldwide as part of its ethical anti-drugs campaign. The visits were backed by the Scottish Government education officials who are understood to be interested in developing new ways of influencing young people's attitudes to drugs.

Willie MacColl, the national drugs co-ordinator for the Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency, which has been working with Learning and Teaching Scotland to develop new drugs education guidelines for A Curriculum for Excellence, said: "The message Ana Maria delivered at the schools was powerful. We need to explore ways this type of approach can be used with young people and schools."

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