Winner: Warwickshire drug and alcohol team - alcohol harm reduction information

Contact: Lorna Ferguson, tel 01926 746808


When Warwickshire's drug and alcohol action team looked at information and advice for young people on drug and alcohol misuse, they did not find much that was up-to-date, easily accessible and relevant to the young people of Warwickshire.

The team resolved to produce a range of information products that focused on prevention and harm reduction, had a clear target audience (teenagers upwards), and that spoke to them in language that they could easily relate to.

The team worked with partners from healthcare bodies, local councils, the probation service, the police, social care providers and young people's services. Hybrid Arts, a social enterprise organisation, produced three DVDs for young people, covering drugs, alcohol and sexual activity.

The team produced a range of other materials, ranging from display banners to leaflets to information cards. In addition, display screens have been installed in custody suites and court waiting areas providing information on harm reduction and local services.

The team also developed a web-based information system that gives young people access to drug and alcohol advice, education on safe drinking limits, information about services in Warwickshire, and a screening tool for self use or use by professionals. This provides 24/7 access to a range of national and local providers of information, advice, support and treatment services.

Lorna Ferguson, then lead commissioner for alcohol misuse services in Warwickshire, says that within six months of going live the website had received at least 22,500 hits.

Information is distributed to libraries, community centres - anywhere and everywhere young people are likely to pick it up. "Even the local police carry cards now so that when they take booze off young lads in the street they can give them a card with contact numbers on," says Lorna.

"The main strength of this project," she continues, "is that it has cut across different age ranges and communicated with young people in their language. It has made information available that wasn't before."

The campaign's key message is stay safe and respect yourself and others. Lorna says she realises that the team will have to keep pace with young people and says they will now look at ways of upgrading the way it sends useful information to young people, perhaps by texting or blogging.