I have worked in the drug field, mainly focusing on young people’s drug use, for over 30 years as a project leader, writer, trainer and counsellor/support worker. As well as working directly with young people I have worked with a wide range of professionals and with parents and carers.
I believe that everyone has a life-long drug career of using mood-altering substances (including medicines, caffeine, alcohol and possibly cigarettes) and that rather than just focusing on what drugs do to people we need to pay more attention to what people do with drugs and their motivations for using as they do. Drug use, of whatever form, is always functional for the people who use, even if the outcomes are not always what they intend or want. For me the issue is not whether or not people use drugs but informing, educating and supporting them to have more successful and pleasurable drug careers, rather than more damaging ones.
My approach is holistic and person-centred. It takes account of people’s past experiences and also the situations they are living in that may limit or facilitate what they are able to do for themselves.
I make a distinction between drug education and drug propaganda. Propaganda distorts information and exaggerates risks, tells people what they should feel and think and what they should do. In contrast, I use an educational approach that focuses on accurate and balanced information, helps people to explore their feelings and thoughts and supports them to make their own, informed decisions.
I have also carried out similar work regarding young people and sexual health and HIV/AIDS.
To find out more about me see……About Me
My paperback book ‘All About Drugs and Young People: Essential information and advice for parents and professionals’ is published by Jessica Kingsley.