Young people in Worcester are being urged to be careful, as they let their hair down and enjoy the festive party season.
Over the last month 3,000 local students, parents and volunteers have received some sobering facts about the risks of drug taking.
South Worcestershire’s Community Safety Team has talked to students at Worcester Sixth Form College and the Heart of Worcestershire College in a bid to deter young people from engaging in risky behaviour over the festive period.
The team has also talked to Parents Voice Worcestershire, to help raise awareness about how parents and carers can help their children to stay safe.
“We are doing this work to better equip young people to make good choices if they do get in to a situation where they are offered drugs,” explains Ann Nicholls, who runs the sessions on behalf of the South Worcestershire Community Safety Team.
“The door to many careers which young people are attracted to could be shut for ever once they have a conviction for drug taking. We also talk about the consequences that drugs can have on your loved ones. They can destroy families, your health and your life prospects – do you really want to risk all that for a so-called ‘high’?”
In the sessions participants examine synthetic samples of Class A and B drugs, as well as samples of bath salts, glue and alcohol – some of the everyday substances which can be used to produce a so-called ‘legal high.’
They also put on ‘beer goggles’ – specially designed glasses which simulate the effects of impairment, including reduced alertness, slowed reaction time, confusion, visual distortion, alteration of distance perception, and so on.
The aim is to make participants aware of the way drugs and alcohol can impair people’s judgement and make them take greater risks.
Advice on getting home safely after a night out
– Always plan how you’re getting to get home before you set off
– Take some flat shoes in a bag so that after the party, you can change in to footware you can easily walk or run home in
– Watch your drinks – never leave them unattended
– As you journey home, keep your phone in your hand, ready to call someone if necessary
– Carry a personal alarm with you – you can buy them for under £7 at www.suzylamplugh.org/Pages/Category/personal-alarms
– Text friends to let them know you’re home safely
If you’re worried about someone who you think is taking drugs, you can contact the charity Narcotics Anonymous (http://ukna.org/) for free, confidential advice and support. Their help line is open seven days a week, from 10.00am until midnight. Tel. 0300 999 1212
If you’re concerned about someone’s drinking or want advice or support to reduce your alcohol consumption, the charity Drinkaware has lots of useful advice at www.drinkaware.co.uk.