Schools can help to prevent kids starting smoking

“See you round the back of the bike shed at lunchtime?”  That was a familiar whisper from a rebellious bunch of elf maidens when I was at school.  To be followed by a lot of giggling and a smoke cloud rising up from the aforementioned bike shed just after the bell rang.  In those days [read the full story…]

How does UK healthcare perform and compare to other nations?

It’s hard to imagine what life was like in the UK before the National Health Service. It was a time when healthcare was unreliable and of course treatment had to be paid for. Now the UK has a free, state-run NHS. Funded by taxpayers and with a budget of more than £100 billion, it’s the [read the full story…]

Can a board-game help increase smokers’ knowledge and willingness to quit?

Hard on the heels of our look at the latest research on the health risks of being sedentary and some simple ways we can increase our fitness and reduce these, today I’m highlighting an approach to smoking cessation which gets people sitting down! Now one thing which gets me sitting down is the chance to play [read the full story…]

Do talking treatments help problem drinkers who also use illicit drugs? We’re still guessing

Alcohol Awareness Week starts today, with the theme ‘It’s time to talk about drinking’, so I thought we’d kick-start the week in this bit of the woodland by doing just that. Alcohol Concern’s Hair of the Dog campaign poster displays facts which may well achieve their aim of prompting conversation on this subject, including the [read the full story…]

Giving teens life skills plus information looks a promising combination in preventing substance misuse

When it comes to encouraging youngsters to make healthy lifestyle choices and to resist the temptations of addictive and harmful substances such as tobacco, drugs and alcohol, schools can play a vital role. But how can they best do that? An appraisal of a systematic review on school-based marijuana and alcohol prevention programmes targeting ten to [read the full story…]

Early interventions for substance-using adolescents show promise

Earlier this week I highlighted a systematic review of interventions to prevent children of substance-affected parents from becoming users themselves. But how about teens who are in the early stages of using drugs, alcohol or other substances, but don’t yet meet diagnostic criteria for substance abuse or dependence and so may not need specialist drug [read the full story…]

Preventing children of substance-affected parents from becoming users

Prevention is better than cure, right? When it comes to preventing drug- and alcohol-misuse, children of substance-abusing parents are a really important group to work with, as they are at higher risk of developing their own subtance-related problems, or other mental health problems, than their peers from non-substance-using families. A new systematic review from Germany has brought [read the full story…]