Helping Children Make the Right Choice

By Caroline Fraser

It is understood that more than one in four children in the early years of secondary school in the north of Scotland feel stressed due to high and increasing workloads.  Although many children decide to listen to music or go to the cinema to help them relax and ‘switch-off’ from their school life, a shocking percentage turn to alcohol, drug misuse and tobacco.

Statistics taken earlier this year show that 6% of children aged 11-15 years in the north of Scotland use drugs, 16% often smoke tobacco and a staggering 30% drink alcohol on a regular basis; all in order to de-stress.  With the news that Scottish schools are excluding and even expelling pupils for drug and alcohol consumption more often this year than previous years, it seems necessary to educate these young people about the dangers of peer pressure even more.

A programme primarily aimed at young people in Scotland called Choices For Life is determined and committed to making young people, parents and teachers much more aware of such pressures on children at such a fragile age.  Bob Pollock, a former inspector with the Northern Constabulary, Inverness was heavily involved with the programme and has said, ‘Choices for Life gives youngsters information [about the dangers of alcohol, drugs and tobacco] so they can make informed choices and resist peer pressure when they are making that crucial leap from primary to secondary school.’

Mr Pollock adds that the programme ‘has been very well received by pupils and teachers alike.’