Aim: To equip young people to make drug-free choices.

What we believe:

  • That all young people have the right to live healthy, fulfilling and safe lives
  • That all young people should have the skills necessary to make their own life choices
  • That drug use, while often fun to start with, can lead to both short- and long-term negative life consequences
  • That drug use can be caused by a wide variety of factors, and that young people can be equipped to recognise and manage these factors in ways that have healthier and more positive short- and long-term outcomes.

How can we achieve this?

  • Promoting high quality life-skills training for young people
  • Ensuring young people have access to appropriate information about drugs
  • Helping young people to identify their life strategies; considering whether these strategies are helpful or unhelpful to their short- and long-term life experiences and goals
  • Equipping young people to develop healthy life strategies
  • Training adults to help young people with all of the above

What do we know?

  • Life skills programmes that include self-management skills, interpersonal skills (including peer resistance and managing media pressures) and relevant drug information have proven to be effective in preventing substance use in young people
  • These programmes are more effective when started at an early age and continued on a regular basis
  • That psychological and emotional well-being, personal and social competence, a strong attachment to caring and effective parents, attachment to schools and communities that are well resourced and organized are all protective factors that contribute to individuals being less vulnerable to illicit drug use and other risky behaviours.

What we are doing:

  • Delivering life skills and drug information sessions in schools, youth clubs, faith organisations and other community groups
  • Helping adults who care for children and young people to develop the knowledge and skills they need to help equip those they take care of
  • Training local volunteers to national standards, who can then deliver our work within their communities
  • Working in partnership with other agencies – for example, in the Junior Citizens programme
  • Hosting youth events and encouraging young people to participate in peer-led work

What has changed:

  • 18% increase in young people saying they ‘strongly agree’ that they will never use drugs as a result of Hope UK input
  • Long-term fall in drug use in the UK among young people
  • Long-term fall in alcohol and cigarette use among young people in the UK


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