Switch off videos, says drugs chief

19th May 2000 at 01:00
THE Executive's anti-drugs supremo has robustly defended his agency and attacked a major component of a local authority drugs education pack as "discredited".

Alistair Ramsay, director of Scotland Against Drugs, was responding to comments by Archie Ferguson, adviser in guidance in North Lanarkshire, at a teachers' seminar held as part of a Choices for Life anti-drugs event last week organised by Strathclyde Police, the Scottish Drugs Enforcement Agency and SAD.

Mr Ferguson has played a leading role in promoting the drugs education pack What's the Score?, produced by, among others, North and South Lanarkshire councils. Speaking in a personal capacity he told the seminar that drugs policy should "shift away from the cottage industries associated with initiatives and move towards a national integrated policy wit local interpretation according to needs".

But Mr Ramsay criticised What's The Score?, to which SAD contributed pound;50,000. "We were not aware that they we going to use video tapes which, by and large, are pretty well out of date and discredited," Mr Ramsay said.

He also dismissed Mr Ferguson's call for anti-drugs messages to be delivered via school sport, art and drama. "This is quite profoundly wrong," he said. "The Schools' Drug Safety Team which we have set up is by and large coming to the view that schools should do what schools are good at - and that is all.

"Schools are good at engaging children in the learning process, whether it is maths, language or any other subject. Drugs education should be put into that setting, so it builds on children's understanding as well as their experience."

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