Youths warned against addiction

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Beer bottles © Wikipedia/Creative Commons

Beer bottles © Wikipedia/Creative Commons

Youngsters in Liverpool are to receive warnings about the dangers of addiction through a joint scheme with the Amy Winehouse Foundation and addiction support charity, Addaction.

The scheme, which received a £4.3million lottery fund, is being trialled in Liverpool along with nine other cities around the UK, and will see a five-year education programme being delivered to over 250,000 secondary school children.

The programme will include drug and alcohol education and support for young people suffering from substance abuse at home. It’s hoped that combining the two projects will have a greater impact.

Elliot Elam, a spokesperson for Addaction, told JMU Journalism: “Liverpool was chosen as one of the trial cities for the scheme because of our strong and growing presence in Liverpool and Merseyside and we can only hope to improve on that.”

The two charities will take their programme around 10 cities for a trial period and have employed the help of 250 trained volunteers, who have a history of addiction and are in recovery.

Mitch Winehouse, Amy Winehouse’s father and Chair of the Foundation, said: “The programme really helps thousands of kids who need to talk about drugs, drink and other concerns in an honest and straight-talking way. This isn’t about ‘just say no’.

“It’s about understanding why kids feel they want to get drunk, or why they might smoke something. We help them find ways of dealing with difficult issues that don’t involve turning to drugs and alcohol. And our volunteers talk about their own struggles with doing just that. It’s all about building emotional resilience.”

The volunteers are expected to share stories of their experiences and deliver workshops on self-esteem, peer pressure and risky behaviour.

The pilot scheme comes after Liverpool was named as one of the worst cities for alcohol abuse in the country for the fourth consecutive year, according to research done by Liverpool John Moores University.

Simon Antrobus, Chief Executive of Addaction, said: “The Foundation came to Addaction as they really wanted to get this right. We’ve been hugely impressed with their commitment to addressing the lack of decent drug education in our schools – and how they have campaigned for more and more pupils to benefit from this effective and brilliant programme.”

About Nathan Pearce, JMU Journalism