Drugs Education Programmes

Home Department written question – answered on 6th November 2001.

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Photo of Paul Flynn Paul Flynn Labour, Newport West

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of the effects of (a) Operation Charlie and (b) other anti-legal and illegal drugs education programmes in reducing drugs use.

Photo of Bob Ainsworth Bob Ainsworth The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department

Project Charlie (Chemical Abuse Resolution Lies in Education), as it became known, was implemented in primary schools in Hackney between 1991 and 1993. This drugs education programme was delivered to 44 children and its effects compared with standard education for 233 children. The Project Charlie pupils received a lesson of at least 30 minutes each week for 39 weeks.

The Project was assessed in terms of self-esteem, decision making, peer pressure resistance, drug knowledge and self-reported drug-taking and was found to have a positive impact on all areas, except self esteem. Four years after the programme both tobacco and illegal drug use were significantly less common among the Project Charlie pupils.

Under the Government's 10-year strategy 'Tackling Drugs to Build a Better Britain' we support a holistic approach to the delivery of drug education in schools through Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE) and the National Healthy Schools Standard. However, decisions on the detailed organisation and content of health and drug education are best taken at a local level, in order to take account of the specific needs and circumstances of the pupils in that area.

In terms of measuring the effectiveness of different forms of drug education the Department for Education and Skills, in partnership with the Department of Health and the Home Office, will be starting a long term study which will inform future policy. The study will run for three to five years.

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