Helping parents curb teen drug abuse

PUBLISHED : Monday, 25 March, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 25 March, 2013, 2:37am


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Life Education Activity Programme (LEAP) wholly endorses the statement by Winnie Kwan in advocating that education is the key to ensuring that more young people are fully aware of the dangers involved in drug abuse ("Try harder with anti-drug drive publicity", March 18).

LEAP is the leading drug prevention education organisation in Hong Kong, helping young people establish a healthy lifestyle and become aware of the dangers of drugs, including cigarettes and alcohol.

Over the past 19 years, we have been taking our internationally recognised health awareness and drug prevention programmes to both the local and international schools.

Ms Kwan acknowledged that teenagers "also have to take responsibility for their actions. They have to realise the damage they will do to themselves by taking drugs".

This is the basis of LEAP's programmes which we take to primary and secondary schools. Helping young people to make responsible choices is precisely what LEAP has been doing.

Young people need to be better informed about the effects drugs can have on their lives from an early age.

Such education should comprise both knowledge and skills, to help develop young people's critical thinking and point them to the way of making responsible choices.

Yet, parents also have a vital role to play.

LEAP is going to reach more than 90,000 students next year when it celebrates its 20th anniversary.

At the same time, LEAP has been awarded a grant by the Beat Drugs Fund, which allows it to offer a free parent programme that will benefit 12,500 parents to help foster drug-free families for three years.

This parent programme will help equip parents with the knowledge on improving parental skills, and also on detecting signs of drug abuse among their children.

Only by knowing the dangers of drugs could parents be in a position to help the positive development of their children, and to help prevent drug abuse in the family.

LEAP is one of the several agencies in Hong Kong offering preventive education to young people and their families.

We are encouraged by the government's decision to make more resources available for promoting awareness among parents of the drug problem.

This is particularly important as the identification of such problems often relies on support from the parents and families so that intervention could also be done at an early stage.

Heidi Lau, executive director, Life Education Activity Programme