New website to tackle substance misuse
By Liz Lockhart
Drug and alcohol misuse is not simply a problem which affects adults. Several recent studies have shown that it is a problem which affects young people, and recently the age seems to be getting even younger.
A new website has been launched to tackle the problem of drug and alcohol misuse among young people. The site is http://www.fixers.org.uk/ and it is designed to be accessible to children and teenagers who may be concerned over drink and drugs. It is also a useful resource for carers and practitioners who work with young people.
What makes this site stand apart from others is the use of material such as films and music videos which have been made by the young people themselves to a professional standard. The site also aims to make factsheets and workshop plans more freely available by bringing together information from other organisations who work within the field of substance misuse.
Fixers.org.uk has been created as the result of the collaboration between Groundwork UK, The Children’s Society and the Public Service Broadcasting Trust (PSBT) and has been funded by ‘Choices’. Choices is a programme which helps the voluntary and community sector to prevent and reduce substance misuse and associated offending by vulnerable young people who are between 10 and 19 years-of-age.
The website utilises material which was created as part of PSBT’s ITV Fixers initiative. ITV Fixers supports young people to become involved in social action campaigns to help their communities. Since 2008 more than 6,000 young people have become Fixers and many of them have concerns over substance misuse. Some of them have had their own personal struggle to overcome drugs or alcohol.
The Choices partnership of Groundwork, TCS and PSBT is doing more than providing this great website. It is also working in ten distinct areas of England and Wales in projects which support this vulnerable group of children and teenagers to be more aware of the impact of substance misuse. In some of these projects the young people are taking on their own Fixers campaigns and creating new resources for Fixers.org.uk.
Margo Horsley, chief Executive of PBST told Mental Healthy ‘Some 80 young people volunteered to help us create this new resource about the affects of drink and drugs. Fixers.org.uk is a place where young people are talking about some tough issues from personal experience. They do it because they are passionate about helping other young people by sharing their experience. The messages these young people convey are very real and honest and the way they engage with other young people is something I think as adults we all aspire to but perhaps fail to replicate.’