As I write this report on our recent Drug and Alcohol Awareness workshop I’m hoping that I’m doing justice to what turned out to be not only an educational evening but also a very enjoyable one. The workshop was held in the comfortable lounge at Breaks Manor Youth Centre in Hatfield and we had invited Gill and Lorraine from Parental Drug Awareness Service (PDAS) to deliver a workshop on the subject of drugs and alcohol.
We were a fairly small group of people and this enabled us to have a friendly and lively discussion whilst learning more about the effects of drugs and alcohol. Gill has an endless supply of knowledge on the subject and I suspect that she could have gone on for another couple of hours had we had the time. She told us that information on drugs was constantly changing and they had to continually update their knowledge.
We began the evening by looking at alcohol and how long it takes for the alcohol in our blood stream to break down. When waking up, perhaps feeling slightly under the weather after an evening out drinking, I wonder how many people realise that if the police stopped and breathalysed them that they would still be well over the limit? Apparently it takes one hour to break down one unit of alcohol when we are awake and one hour to break down only half a unit when we are asleep!
I think perhaps one of the most alarming things we discussed was about the pressure that many young people feel from their peers to try illegal drugs, with little knowledge of just how dangerous it is. The brain is still developing until about the age of 21, so it is important that young people be informed about the potential dangers of taking both illegal and legal substances and the possible adverse effects on their mental health. In addition, if there is a history of mental health problems in their family then they could be predisposed to having a psychotic episode due to drugs or even long-term mental health problems. Drug use is also very dangerous to the heart, especially if mixed with alcohol and can cause strokes or heart attacks in young people.
This is just a snippet of the evening’s discussion. I think the main thing I took away from the workshop is the need for parents to know more about the signs and dangers of drugs and for them to seek support if the need arises. We also need to keep educating our young people about these dangers. Thank you to PDAS for an informative evening.
We have invited Gill and Lorraine from PDAS back to run another one of these highly informative workshops in March 2014. Please contact us via email or phone if you would like to book a place.