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Tuesday, 7 November, 2000, 11:26 GMT
Anti-drugs education compulsory
Funding will rise from 7.5m this year to 17.5m in 2003-04
Every secondary school and 80% of primary schools in England must have an anti-drugs education policy in place by the year 2003, the government has demanded.

Announcing that funding for drugs awareness programmes will rise by 10m over the next four years, Education Secretary David Blunkett said every child must know about the dangers of drugs.

Anti-drugs funding
7.5m in 2000-01
14.5m in 2001-02
15.5m in 2002-03
17.5m in 2003-04

"We recognise illegal drugs can pose huge and deep-rooted problems for individuals, families and society," Mr Blunkett said.

"The money I am announcing today will help schools develop and sustain good quality drug education programmes.

2003 deadline

"Our target is that all secondary and 80% of primary schools must have a drug education policy in place by 2003," he said.

"Currently, 93% of secondary and 75% of primary schools do so," he added.

Drug awareness education must be made relevant to the circumstances in which youngsters live, Mr Blunkett warned.

"This means active support for pupils and their families whose lives are affected by drugs, often from support groups based in the community."

Mr Blunkett: "Drug misuse is seldom an isolated problem"
Mr Blunkett gave details of the funding as the drugs "czar" Keith Hellawell published his annual report on the government's 10-year drive to reduce substance abuse.

Touring Holland Park School in London with Cabinet Office Minister Mo Mowlam and Mr Hellawell, Mr Blunkett, said juvenile drug abuse was usually connected to other problems such as crime and truancy.

Earlier Ms Mowlam had signalled there may be a softening of the government's hardline approach to the legalisation of cannabis.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4, she said a number of scientific trials on the drug were drawing to a close and action could follow soon.

The government claims the extra money for anti-drugs programmes in schools will:

  • support training for teachers so professionals have the right skills

  • provide training for Connexions Advisers on drug issues

  • ensure all schools have access to a local drugs adviser and pupils at risk get support in and out of school.

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    See also:

    07 Nov 00 | UK
    Britain 'winning drugs war'
    07 Nov 00 | UK Politics
    Mowlam signals shift on cannabis
    04 Oct 00 | Education
    Drug education improving
    06 Mar 00 | Education
    Pupils' drug use 'has peaked'
    17 Nov 99 | Education
    Teacher training to beat drugs
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