UK & World News
Winehouse Warns Parents 'In Dark' On Legal Highs
The father of Amy Winehouse has issued a warning over legal highs saying so many new drugs are available to children it was "no wonder parents are in the dark".
Mitch Winehouse also said that the under-funding of drug and alcohol education meant that a generation of children were being put at risk.
He was speaking as he prepares to launch a new education programme for schools with the help of the comedian Russell Brand.
Mr Winehouse has warned that a generation of children is being failed by "woefully under-funded" drug and alcohol education.
The singer Amy Winehouse died in July 2011 from accidental alcohol poisoning at the age of 27 after a long and well-documented battle with drink and drugs.
Mr Winehouse said: "Everyone wants their kids to make informed choices when it comes to drugs and alcohol.
"But it's such a complicated subject to understand, especially when you look at all the new legal highs that have appeared over the past few years, that it's no wonder that parents feel in the dark about what to do."
The United Nations' drug watchdog warned this month that a new legal high enters the market every week, with the number of websites now selling these so-called designer drugs now at 600.
Britain is at the heart of the trade in these drugs, with an increasing number of deaths, mainly among teenagers, linked to their use. Earlier this month a 15-year-old from Essex was admitted to hospital after smoking a legal high packaged as plant fertiliser.
Mr Winehouse added: "Drugs education in schools is woefully under-funded and has been far too inconsistent.
"That's if it happens at all. When it does, it doesn't look at why people turn to drugs or drink.
"It doesn't happen with any kind of regularity. And it doesn't help teachers and parents to support the kids who really need it. That really needs to change."
The Amy Winehouse Foundation Resilience Programme will initially be rolled out to 50 secondary schools across England and will provide a free, confidential phone and online service for young people, supported by Childline.
Brand, who has battled drug problems in the past, is due to attend the launch of the schools programme at Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre, in central London, on Tuesday.
The charity Addaction, which helped to develop the scheme, said it had seen an almost 25% rise in the number of young people seeking help for drug and alcohol problems in the last five years.
Simon Antrobus, chief executive of Addaction, said: "Every day at Addaction, we see people who've turned to drugs or drink to help deal with a personal problem. That's why this new programme is so important. It doesn't just say no - it also looks at why."
The Amy Winehouse Foundation has highlighted a poll by ComRes of more than 4,000 adults which found four in five parents with children at school felt drug and alcohol abuse among young people was a serious problem in the UK.
Only a third believed schools provided adequate education to children and young people around drugs and alcohol.
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what do you think?
Just say NO, that is all kids need to know
Tell them the truth about all drugs. That's what they need to know.
How would you do that. Maybe take them to rehab centres see what that is like
Yep that's a good idea Diane. That would certainly have more of an impact than 'just say no' wouldn't it? If they know the dangers, then they can make an informed decision (sorry, but people have always and will always take recreational drugs). Given the binge drinking culture in this country, start with alcohol.
Legalisation and education are the intellectual solution. Prohibition does not work, all prohibition does is to create and maintain a multi billion pound criminal black market.
d and d Phillips
And why would education and proper criminslaisation not be effective? Why legalisation for something that clealr damages people and those around them?
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i just dont see why anyone has a need to take any form of drugs , i am 66 never ever smoked anything and drink very little alcohol ( dont find the need ) i cannot understand idiots who say i am getting plastered tonight or words to that effect .