Parents join the battle;Drug Abuse

26th June 1998 at 01:00
High street stores, such as Marks and Spencer, distilleries, National Health Service trusts and schools are among the more than 40 organisations backing an Edinburgh-based project which takes information on drugs directly to the workplace.

Wise up on Drugs, launched last year, is aimed at parents who are worried that their children may be experimenting with drugs - including alcohol and tobacco - but are unsure how to deal with it. Trained staff from the voluntary organisation Fast Forward are invited by employers to run workshops, lasting up to two hours, during work time. Workers are given up-to-date information about the drugs young people are using, their effects and the dangers.

The important thing, says Fast Forward's director, Simon Jaquet, is to encourage them to talk to their children. "Parents are often worried that their children may be using drugs but they don't know how to discuss it with them," he says. "They don't know how to make the first move, and they don't know the language. We try to give them the confidence to be able to raise the subject and listen to what their children tell them."

Most parents feel reassured by the information they are given. A survey has shown that 78 per cent of those taking part in the training felt more confident in tackling drugs issues.

Employers seem keen to play a part in dealing with the drugs problem, even if it does not directly affect their business. The manager of one company taking part in the initiative said: "There isn't a particular problem in the workforce, but we are not naive. We are trying to be socially responsible as an employer and help people's lives outside."

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