A new campaign has launched in Brighton and Hove in a bid to urge parents and carers to talk to their teenagers about substance and alcohol abuse. It aims to equip parents and carers with facts and figures regarding their children’s irresponsible lifestyle choices, enabling them to talk calmly and confidently with their children.
Keep Calm and Talk is the new campaign developed by YMCA Right Here and Brighton & Hove City Council that hopes to encourage conversations necessary to initiate a change in the behaviour of the younger generation.
Alcohol, smoking and substance abuse affecting teenagers health and safety
The campaign arises after listening to the needs of parents and carers who feel they need better ways to support their teens. Research on the health and wellbeing of UK teenagers collected staggering results. According to What about YOUth survey ,15% of 15 year olds in Brighton and Hove have developed a smoking addiction, which is the highest recorded rate in the country. Almost a quarter (24%) of teens have smoked cannabis, with 14% smoking cannabis within the last month. Whilst 11% of 15 year olds drink alcohol at least once a week. These figures are amongst the highest in the England, leaving many parents at a loss, without any sense of how to help.
Drug and alcohol abuse in a young person poses greater dangers to health that it does in adults. A premature brain has not fully developed, meaning teens are far more susceptible to developing addiction and mental health issues as a direct result of substance misuse. Consequently, there is a greater risk of overdose as younger people have a far lower “threshold”.
It is without doubt parents share concerns of their children’s behaviour, risk of sexual assault and mental health linked to alcohol and cannabis use. Brighton & Hove parents have said they feel pressured to allow their children to drink or smoke before they are at the legal age to do so, because they believe other parents are more permissive.
Brighton Journal asked Tracy Taylor, a parent in Brighton, whether she thought schools could be doing more to make children and young teenagers more aware of the dangers of alcohol, smoking and drugs.
From my personal experience, local high schools offer Life Skills lessons which outline the dangers of substance and alcohol misuse. For me, offering too much information at an early age can actually backfire – and younger children, who may be totally naive around these issues, could see them as ‘adult’ things to get involved with. Campaigns such as this one make information accessible to all on a ‘need to know’ basis which, for me, is more beneficial and could certainly be utilised within schools.
We also asked Tracy if she thought Brighton and Hove may become a dangerous place for young people to be brought up.
As someone raised in London, I don’t see B&H as any more dangerous than any other big city. However, I know that drink and drugs are an issue for young people in general and any campaign that raises awareness in an informed and well researched way is hugely positive for our city.
To find out more about the campaign, and to access information and support to have your own conversations, visit http://wheretogofor.co.uk/letstalk
Featured image taken from Where To Go For.