Minimising the Harm Associated with Drug and Alcohol Misuse


Drugwatch Trust was established in the late 1980’s after a young Chester Barrister, Brendan Anderson, realised he was regularly defending clients on criminal charges who he felt had committed acquisitive crime as a result of a need to feed their drugs habits.

He quickly gained support from some local influential figures and, as a result, Drugwatch Trust was born.

The thinking was that the Trust could assist the Police in delivering educational materials about the realistic consequences of drugs and alcohol abuse. The Trust worked closely with the Cheshire Constabulary and developed a package called ‘Insight’.

‘Insight’ was presented to adult community groups across Cheshire and neighbouring counties. It was also used to develop packages for use in schools by schools liaison police officers. The success of ‘Insight’ is evidenced by the tremendous positive feedback from those receiving the presentations.


In August 2017 the UK Government launched its ‘Government Drug Strategy 2017’ and it was quite clear that the ‘Insight’ materials did not meet the needs of the new strategy. Drugwatch Trust decided to commission the development of a new suite of evidence-based materials to satisfy the requirements of the Government Drug Strategy.

A working group was established consisting of individuals with educational expertise. Their brief was to develop a range of resources which would be appropriate for all age groups from 5 years upwards. Some local Cheshire schools, primary, junior and senior, were also invited to join the group and influence the development of the content and its accompanying lesson plans.

The project is scheduled to enter a pilot stage in January 2019 when the schools involved in the working group will start using the new ‘Insight’ packages. The pilot and review period will conclude by the summer of 2019 and the finished article will be launched at a national conference in July 2019. At that time the material will be available for all schools, colleges and academies, including sporting academies, to use for the benefit of their students. It is anticipated that this wider use will commence at the start of the academic year in September 2019.