misuse as a problem, a home office drugs prevention initiative report
According to the report, Drugs Prevention in Rural Areas: An
and, in keeping with national trends, cannabis is the drug most
However, it is possible to overcome these, and other rural specific
problems, and establish effective, sustainable, community based
interventions, the report concludes.
The study also found that:
- there is low awareness of drugs services in rural areas, and often
- the nature and extent of drugs use varies within given areas
- the fear of being labelled a drug user may help to reduce drug
misuse, but also helps to ensure it is more underground, and
therefore more difficult to counter
- service providers have problems in finding suitable premises,
recruiting, training and managing workers, and difficulty in
supporting isolated workers
- a broad based approach placing drugs issues within wider social
concerns about community safety and family problems, and building on
existing community structures, is more likely to be successful
The report is aimed at policy makers, purchasers, providers and
practitioners. It also reviews other rural drug prevention projects
and the literature on drugs prevention in rural areas.
Home office minister George Howarth said:
'This home office report is by far the most substantial study
of its kind ever undertaken in this country.
'It includes an evaluation of projects, a review of the
literature and a check-list of good practice for rural drug
prevention work and shows that some special factors need to be taken
into account in drug prevention work in rural settings
'I have sent a copy to Keith Hellawell, the UK anti-drugs
co-ordinator, so that this new evidence can be incorporated into the
work he is taking forward on the drugs strategy.'
1. 'Drugs Prevention in Rural Areas: An Evaluation Report' was
written by Sheila Henderson, a freelance researcher and consultant
specialising in qualitative research and evaluation in illicit drug
use field. She has worked for Institute for the Study of Drug
Dependency, other drug agencies, charities and regional and national
2. The report is an independent evaluation of four substantial DPI
projects operating in rural areas: the Somerset Parents' and Rural
Communities (SPARC) project; the Substance Misuse Prevention
Development in Uttlesford, Essex; the Windmill Centre Drugs Education
Project, Castle Donington; and the Young People's Mobile Advice and
Information Programme, in East and West Sussex. The study took
place for one year between Autumn 1996 and Autumn 1997.
3. The Drugs Prevention Initiative's national programme runs until
March 1999; more than 70 local projects have been designed and are
being independently evaluated to show what communities can do in
response to drug problems.
4. Members of the public can obtain free copies of the report from
Central Drugs Prevention Unit, Home Office, Room 354, Horseferry
House, Dean Ryle Street, London SW1P 2AW, Tel. 0171-217 8631.