Drug prevention work in the past has all too often failed to find its mark among the target audience, young potential drug users, according to the organisers of the Scottish events during the second European Drug Prevention Week in October.

in recognition ofthis problem. the week of activities will appear completely alien to those still entrenched in the idea that “Just Say No’ is the only response to the increasing pressures of drug use.

‘We feel that European Drug Prevention Week, while it is laudable in its sentiment. could be totally useless unless we can take it a stage further.’ explains Gordon Coster, team leader of the Glasgow Drugs Prevention Team which is coordinating activities in Strathclyde. ‘One-off events don‘t achieve a great deal in terms of drug prevention, so what we have done is look at the work we are doing in the communities in general and working on that. It is either a reflection on the work that is going on or it is a pilot for something which is going to happen and will continue.‘

The theme for the week throughout the EC will be listening to young people. To this end, many of the events focus on young people. evaluating their own experiences and trying to offer them positive alternatives to drug use. The team is also using the week to change the name of its magazine from ‘Just Say No’ to ‘Just Say Know’.

‘lnjust saying “no”, we ignore the experience and the reality of what young people know for themselves.’

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Drugs prevention literature has changed g says Coster. ‘Most young people are aware that people can take drugs and it doesn‘t seem to do them any harm. They are aware that deaths occur through drug taking, but it seems to them that that is quite remote from them.

‘The bottom line is that young people‘s agendas about taking drugs are quite different from what we as adults would like them to be. It might well be

I that the most important way of dealing with drug use will be to Offer them diversionary activities or enhance their 3 skills so they are in a better position to know why they should say no.’

' ln Lothian, the response is equally progressive, according to Dave Carson ofthe Lothian Region Health Promotion Department. His department decided to take the widest possible definition ofthe term ‘prevention‘, in order to include messages for all ages of the target group. The message for very young children will not be relevant to older people who might already be experimenting with drugs.

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reatly since the days oi the ’lust say no’ message However, Carson points out the harm

reduction message has its own

. difficulties, because parents and

community at large feel uncomfortable about providing hard information on drug use.

‘It is a question ofeducation,‘ he says. ‘Parents feel powerless and scared and worried about what is going on. They don‘t understand the rave culture, and they don’t understand the substances, because they have changed their names or they are newly available on a wide market. In Lothian, where a large section of a generation got involved in heroin abuse, people have a memory of that, so there is a lot of fear and anxiety which needs to be addressed first before attitudes can change.’ (Thom Dibdin)

Details of Eu ropean Drug Prevention Week activites 15—20 October are available from Scottish Drugs Forum (031 220 2584) in Lothian and the Glasgow Drugs Prevention Team (041 353 0353) in Strathclyde.

_ Making it happen

Young people in one oi Glasgow’s peripheral housing estates are taking charge oi their own lives as an innovative centre opens its doors. Throughout October, a series oi events are helping inaugurate the Castlemilk Youth Complex.

A response to the demands oi young people in the area, the centre was achieved through the persistence oi the Castlemilk Youth Forum and will be run by a board oi directors, most oi whom are young people. The purpose- built complex is the most expensive Urban Aid initiative ior young Scots, with construction costs alone reaching £1.3 million.

A comprehensive centre with a caie, non-alcoholic bar and regular disco, it also oiiers a wide range oi iacilltles - computer and photography suites, a .

recording studio and a theatre space. A

Preview events in recent weeks have enticed 300 curious local youngsters through the doors and director Sandra Davidson is optimistic: ‘We’ve been absolutely chock-a-block ior the

preview nights. Already there are a couple oi hundred members.’

The aim is to attract anyone between the ages oi 12-25, but the crowd at the opening music night was at the younger end oi the spectrum - which meant the McDIuskey Brothers didn’t go down particularly well. Appealing to over-slxteens will be more dliiicult, as Davidson acknowledges. ‘It is harder to attract them,’ she says, ’but we will probably have separate nights ior diiierent ages.’

Young people who want to use the complex have to loin and are then

entitled to take part in any activities, or lust use the caie and bar. It costs only £1, but members are also required to sign a contract which excludes drugs and alcohol irom the premises. ‘We want to make it clear ior everybody that it is a saie environment,’ says Davidson. ‘The contract tells young people what they are entitled to expect irom us, and what is expected oi them.’

Over-25s have also been showing interest, but they have been turned away. ‘It is ironic that adults often exclude children irom the places they like, but they don’t like it when it happens to them,’ says Davidson.

That is exactly what is special about the complex, according to Robert MacMillan, 21, who is one oi the directors. ‘I never imagined the looks‘ on young people’s laces when they come into the building,’ he enthuses. ‘They see all this on oiter and realise it is lust for them.’

Machllan was among those who campaigned tor iour years to persuade people the complex was needed and could be achieved. ‘Young people had the idea they created it and new they control it,’ he says, with satlsiactlon. (Stephen llaysmlth) Castlemllk Youth Complex is at 39 Ardencraig Road, Glasgow. Telephone 041 630 0000 ior details.


I Environmental Art Cuts of £65,000 in the third year Environmental Art department ofthe Glasgow School of Art have left the department toiling. To help make up the shortfall, the department is holding a fundraising evening of entertainment on Fri 7 Oct at the Assembly Building. Renfrew Street Glasgow. The evening kicks off at 9pm with DJs Phar Out downstairs and No UFOs upstairs. Tickets cost £3.50 (£2.50) and will be available on the door.

I En Gender Tackling everything from politics to theatre, Scotland‘s research and campaigning organisation for women, En Gender has organised a series of autumn talks in Glasgow and Edinburgh. Both kick off on Mon 10 Oct and are for women only. The Glasgow series starts with a discussion of women and the new South African constitution, each ofthree talks at the Ramshom Kirk costs £3 (£1) and will be preceeded by a session in the bar from 7pm. Tickets are available from the Ticket Centre, Candleriggs, 041 227 5511. The three Edinburgh dialogues are at the Traverse Theatre, Cambridge Street and start with a discussion ofthe media reporting of child sexual abuse and the Orkney case. Tickets costing £3.50 (£2.50) are available from the Traverse Box Office or 031 228 1404 (credit card) and the evenings also start at 7pm with an informal session in the bar. followed by the main discussion at 8pm.

I Rock And Ice The Kathmandu Environmental Education Project (KEEP) is to be the beneficiary of an illustrated lecture by Doug Scott at the Mitchell Theatre, Granville Street, Glasgow on Fri 14 Oct at 7.30pm. Tickets for the talk, entitled ‘Rock and Ice. North and South', cost £5.50 and are available from Tiso’s, 129 Buchanan Street, Glasgow or from

KEEP on 031 332 7990. I Green Fest ’94 A major event on the

environmental calendar is Sat 15 Oct. when the Green Fest Day for the Environment takes place at the Hillhead Library. Byres Road. Glasgow, 10am—4pm. Entry is free and there will be stalls from a wide range of green action, human rights, animal welfare and local issue groups. There will be a slide show about the M77 Ayr Road at 10.30am. an environmental puppet show at 12.15pm and a Local Exchange Trading market 1.45—4pm. I Pride ’95 Pride Scotland is already looking towards a celebration of gay and bisexual culture in June next year. It is inviting all people who are interested in getting involved in preparing for the event along to the next meeting on Sat 15 Oct at 2pm in the Edge Cafe, Broughton Street. More information from 031 661 8640.

I WEN In Glasgow . . . A new branch of the Women’s' Environmental Network has been formed in Glasgow. Contact Isobel on O4] 945 5604 for further information and meeting details.

I it you have news oi any events or courses which you want publicised in this column, please iorward them to ’Actlon’ at The List, 14 High Street, Edinburgh H" "E and include a day- time phone number.

The List 7—20 October 1994 5