Diary of a first-time non-voter

'The latest torture for young people: a government-backed education manual for use in secondary schools called "Taking Drugs Seriously"'

Ray Crowley

Topics Politics

How much more can the UK government do to spawn misery among young people?

We have already been subjected to night-time curfews, mentoring schemes, crippling university tuition fees, having our sex lives studied in horror, and being called ‘disaffected’ or ‘yobs’. As if being young wasn’t already tedious enough, what with spots, angst and puppy fat.

The latest torture: an education manual for use in secondary schools called ‘Taking Drugs Seriously’, produced by the drug education company Healthwise and backed by the government. The manual suggests that, in order to help young people develop a serious attitude towards drugs, they should be asked to imagine they are on a space station with a mass of drug users, such as a young person using medication and a smack addict, and decide which type of drug user they should kick out into space first.

Just being forced to take part in this kind of patronising activity is probably enough to drive any sane school-aged person to take a lot of drugs. But it gets worse. Another of the manual’s suggestions is role-playing – of different drug-related scenarios.

When I was at school just hearing the words ‘role’ and ‘playing’ in the same sentence made me want to be sick. (Maybe I’d be good, then, at pretending to be a heroin addict going cold turkey). There is something unpleasant about being treated like you are not capable of thinking or learning without a little game to help you along the way – especially when the game is backed by the government.

This manual wouldn’t make me think about drugs more seriously – but it would make me seriously question the government’s view of young people.

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Topics Politics


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