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Our new study shows that drug and alcohol education in school works. Now we are calling on government to provide it to all pupils.

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Our new study shows that if drug and alcohol education in schools is done properly, it works. Now we are calling on government to provide it to all pupils.

Five years ago this month, we set up the Amy Winehouse Foundation in order to join the fight against drug and alcohol problems among young people.

As a key part of that work, we joined up with the treatment charity Addaction and created the Amy Winehouse Resilience Programme for Schools. Our research showed that the kinds of drug and alcohol education that was taking place in schools wasn’t anywhere near as effective as it could be, so we created something new. In our model which runs at selected schools across the UK, trained and accredited volunteers use their own experiences of substance misuse and recovery to educate students, parents and teachers about the real reasons why young people may misuse substances and what can be done to prevent it. These volunteers have all overcome significant personal issues and now live substance free lives, contributing to society and helping others to make wise and informed choices. And it is that honesty and truth – about the underlying feelings and root causes of substance misuse problems, that has made all the difference.

Our new report shows just how effective that work has been. It is one of largest research studies of its kind, evaluating 17,000 young people engaged with the Resilience Programme. The results show the vital importance of skills development programmes around alcohol and drugs.

  • 89% of pupils said they found the programme useful to them. Only 4% said it was not useful.
  • 76% of young people said their knowledge about drugs, including “legal highs” had increased.
  • 73% of young people said their knowledge about alcohol had increased. 75% of young people said they were more con dent about making safer decisions about drug use and 73% said the same about alcohol use.
  • The Programme helps participants to develop skills to manage self-esteem, risky behaviours and peer pressure.The evidence shows that ability and confidence to manage these areas plays an important role in young people’s decision-making around substances.
  • 91% of pupils said they were now well informed that they could seek confidential help in the event of being concerned about substance use, peer pressure or bullying.
  • 79% of pupils said that they would be more likely to avoid risky behaviours relating to substance misuse.
  • 83% of pupils said they would seek out support for alcohol or drug issues.
  • 77% of pupils said they would definitely not use drugs in the next six months.

We are now calling on the Government to put in place effective, evidence-based prevention wok across all schools in the UK. Our research shows that it can improve life chances for young people, and truly have an effect on the problems of drug and alcohol misuse.

You can download a copy of our new report, Real Life Experience: Results and Recommendations, here.

This morning (12th September, 2016) Jane Winehouse appeared alongside Addaction on BBC Radio 4’s flagship Today programme to talk about the results of the study, the Foundation’s anniversary and about the resilience programme. You can listen to that interview here (from 2h52m) until the 10th October, 2016.