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Schools (Drugs and Alcohol Awareness)

General Questions – in the Scottish Parliament at 2:00 pm on 18th November 2004.

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Photo of Christine May Christine May Labour 2:00 pm, 18th November 2004

To ask the Scottish Executive what action is being taken in schools to raise awareness of the dangers of abuse of drugs and alcohol and to promote health and welfare. (S2O-4030)

Photo of Euan Robson Euan Robson Liberal Democrat

Education authorities are encouraged to address all aspects of health education within a comprehensive programme of personal and social education, including awareness of drugs and alcohol and the promotion of health and welfare. The Executive has provided £3 million over three years for work on drugs education and awareness in schools. Since 2002, the Executive has funded the work of the Scottish health promoting schools unit, which aims to support all schools to become health promoting by 2007.

Photo of Christine May Christine May Labour

I am grateful for that comprehensive response. Two recent events in Glenrothes—B in the park and gigging 4 it—were organised by young people, with the help of community and educational services. The events use music from local groups to highlight the dangers of the abuse of drugs and alcohol and to promote healthy alternatives. Those young people hope to take elements of that approach into schools throughout Scotland, using a local band called Draw. I invite the minister or the deputy minister, if their diaries permit, to come and meet some of the young people to hear about their approach. Will the deputy minister confirm that the Executive supports that approach?

Photo of Euan Robson Euan Robson Liberal Democrat

I am delighted to say that we support that approach and that we are keen to spread best practice throughout Scotland. When good ideas such as the ventures in Fife that the member mentioned are developed anywhere, we want to tell other authorities about their success. The member will be interested to know that the annual survey on drugs education, which reported in September 2003, showed that 99 per cent of schools in Scotland provide drugs education. That is an important statistic. Diaries permitting, either Peter Peacock or I would be pleased to visit Christine May's constituency—I have been there twice recently—to see at first hand the development that she mentioned.