Teachers on drug front line

SUFFOLK'S teachers are being newly armed in the battle against the menace of drugs, the Evening Star can reveal.New five-day training courses have been launched for specialist teachers to take the front line to combat the spread of drugs in schools.

SUFFOLK'S teachers are being newly armed in the battle against the menace of drugs, the Evening Star can reveal.

New five-day training courses have been launched for specialist teachers to take the front line to combat the spread of drugs in schools.

The courses are designed to furnish personal, social and health education (PHSE) classes with up-to-the-minute tactics of tackling the problem.

And since the courses were launched, around 30 of the county's PSHE experts have trooped through the doors.


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Dealing with drugs has also attracted figures further up the school hierarachy – 45 headteachers have attended conferences on drug incident policies this year.

County Council education chiefs rubbished claims made by former education minister Estelle Morris that a rock of crack cocaine was the modern equivalent of a fag behind the bike-sheds.

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Re-installed in the cabinet as arts minister, Ms Morris called for more police officers to be stationed in schools to beat the growing menace of crack.

But specially-trained Suffolk police officers are already taking an active role in our county's schools, attempting to head-off the drugs menace before it begins.

A spokesman for Suffolk police said the Police Education Partnership officers (PEPs) were trained to discuss the legal consequences of drug use.

He said: "PEPs liaise closely with the Local Education Authority and other members of the county Drugs Action Team to provide a comprehensive programme of drugs education to schools pupils."

And the third in a three-pronged assault is recruiting children to shape the teaching which can help their peers.

A student drug education conference held earlier this month will help to shape future council policy.

About 60 14 and 15-year-olds from around the county gathered to debate their experience of drugs and drug education.

Now they are taking the conference findings back to school.

Jan McDonald, county adviser for personal and social development, said planned programmes would help students in life after education as well as in school.

She said it was vital to build self-esteem and assertiveness to allow children to make better decisions later in life.

The police spokesman urged anyone with information about drug use in their community to contact the anti-drugs Operation Crackdown hotline on 0800 253253.

* Is the school life of your child blighted by drugs? Call the Evening Star newsdesk on 01473 324789 or write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, IP4 1AN.

FALLING prices are fuelling what many fear is becoming a crack epidemic across Britain.

And dealers are increasingly targeting areas not normally associated with drug outbreaks – areas such as Suffolk – as traditional inner city marketplaces become saturated with their wares.

Crack is created by processing powder cocaine into rocks which users can smoke.

Smoking the deadly drug generates a more instant and intense high, which quickly leads to addiction.

But Suffolk police are determined to beat the growing menace and prove the regions are no soft target for big city London dealers.

Operation Crackdown has secured several big successes – including the recovery of more than £4,500 of crack in a bust which led to the conviction of two Yardie gangsters.

Jamaican nationals Fabian Barclay and Andrew Thomas were sentenced to five years each in March.

But police admitted their presence in Ipswich showed the town was being targeted and that the drugs recovered were just a fraction of the amount still on the streets.

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