Whenever I deliver training I talk about my experiences working with children and young people who have been in Drug and Alcohol treatment services. For the vast majority of the time I would deal with what we have termed ‘Pocket Money’ Drugs. The prevalence of these substances are easily accessible to all young people and although most young people do not and will not use substances, they will know someone who has tried or does use drugs. In fact 86% of all young people in treatment services report Cannabis as their primary drug that they use and this figure continues to rise.

According to the latest data set provided by the National Drug and Treatment Monitoring Service (NDTMS) the numbers of young people accessing treatment services in the UK has fallen from its peak in 2008-9 of 24,053 to 18,394 in 2014-15. This is a significant reduction in numbers and there are many factors to consider (besides the excellent work and dedication of service providers) in the rationale for the fall in numbers including significant austerity measures and service cuts that we have seen over the past 3 years. Further examples of why there may be a reduction in numbers is the reduction and or dismantling nationally of youth service provision and youth criminal justice services (YOT). They have historically been key referral sources, and their reduction or loss has had a direct impact on the numbers of referrals that specialist young people’s substance misuse services receive.

So, the question to ask is, what happens to those children and young people? And how do they get the help that they need it at the most appropriate time? If there is no one there to identify needs and refer to young people’s substance misuse services then of course the numbers are going to be lower.

Early intervention, has never been more needed in order to ensure that children and young people are getting the right information so that they can make informed and positive life choices. In my professional capacity I disseminate knowledge about the range of substances, dispel the myths about different drugs, provide anecdotal experiences. I help my learners to look at identifying signs and symptoms and screening young people who may need additional support.

However, at the end of the session I always wonder what and how attendees will relate their new found knowledge to young people. I have noticed increasingly that evaluation forms are asking for more practical and skills based workshop and so the call must be answered! On the 28th of June 2017 at Manchseter Metropolitain University (the old corner house cinema) I will be hosting the first of what I hope is many skills workshops.

The day will begin with a light introduction to the most commonly sought ‘Pocket Money’ and readily available drugs that young people use. The ebs and flows of what’s hot and what’s not is consistently changing as we work with the chemical generation of recreational drug users.

So often, children and young people are lost in a sea of professionals who although well intentioned  the perspective of the child that they are working for. Children often report feeling ‘done too’ rather than ‘worked with’. We will look at working in a ‘Child Centred’ manner and explore what that means.

Prohibition is never a great way to start working with young people, in fact it often creates the exact opposite to the desired effect. As agents for change, we will explore the use of different techniques and a range of to use when working with young people This will enable participants to have the confidence and take away with them a new set of skills to add to their own ‘professional toolkit’.

For more information about the course you can visit http://www.earlybreak.co.uk/what-we-do/products-training/the-impact-of-pocket-money-drugs-skills-workshop-at-manchester-metropolitan-university/ and download the booking form. If you would like to talk to me about any other training please feel free to contact me at rcathcart@earlybreak.co.uk.

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