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'Know the Score' about drugs
Parents are being urged to take the time to discuss drugs with their children - and so ensure they have the facts to hand if given the wrong information from others.
The new 'Know the Score' campaign was launched by Minister for Community Safety Fergus Ewing and backed by the parents of Emma Caldwell, whose high-profile murder followed her descent into drug addiction.
William and Margaret Caldwell recently urged Scottish parents to speak to their children about drugs before they get the wrong information from somewhere else, as their daughter Emma did.
The new KTS advertisements show two scenarios - one in a play park and the second on a bus - as examples of where children can be given inaccurate facts about drugs. The integrated marketing campaign, including television, radio and online advertising, will run from today until the end of April and aims to help parents improve their knowledge and confidence about drugs and so encourage them to discuss the issue with their children.
Fergus Ewing said:
"Parents are as aware and concerned as anyone about the harm which drugs cause in our communities. But many are less certain about the relevance of this to their children, and even so, what they might do about it.
"As this new Know the Score campaign makes clear, if parents don't discuss drugs with their children, someone else will and very often they'll be getting the wrong advice.
"I want to thank Margaret and William for their courageous decision to come forward and endorse the campaign. Of course, nothing could bring back their daughter Emma, but by highlighting their personal tragedy I hope that other parents may be encouraged to discuss these issues with their children, and ensure they get the facts about drugs and their consequences.
"I would urge parents across Scotland to use the opportunity of this campaign and the Know the Score website and helpline to get clear, credible information which can give them the confidence to talk to their children about drugs and consequences of their use.
"By so doing we can help ensure that our young people can make informed choices to steer clear from drug misuse and the despair which that brings to them, their families and the wider community."
Mrs Caldwell, said:
"We were keen to support this Know the Score campaign to tell parents that drugs can affect anyone regardless of their background or upbringing.
"We raised Emma in a happy and supportive family environment and so it was felt there was never any need to speak to her about the facts of drugs. When she was offered drugs later in life she wasn't aware of the consequences and she soon became hooked. We were completely shocked when Emma finally told us that she was addicted to heroin because we had no idea of the signs we should be looking for.
"It's important that parents are aware that, today, youngsters are exposed to drugs. As parents, they are in the best position to speak to their children about the facts first - before they hear the wrong information from other people or friends. It's important that children know the consequences so they can make an informed choice if and when they are confronted with drugs."
Throughout her youth, Emma was a bright and happy girl who was devoted to horse-riding, visiting stables in her spare time. It was at the stables that she was offered drugs by a friend who gave her misguided information that the effects would help her overcome the loss of her sister, Karen, to cancer.
Mr Caldwell said:
"We can understand that parents may find it a hard topic to bring up, but they need to be aware that it is just as relevant today as the need to discuss alcohol misuse and sex education."
Know the Score can help parents find out the facts, offering advice and guidance on how to start those difficult conversations. 'Drugs - what every parent should know' is an information guide produced by Know the Score that contains lots of helpful information on drugs from recognising paraphernalia to current legislation. Help is also available by going to the parents section of the website www.knowthescore.info or calling the freephone, 24-7 confidential helpline on 0800 587 587 9 to speak to a trained advisor.