Published: 10:04, 23 September 2020
| Updated: 10:05, 25 September 2020
A powerful campaign warning young people about the dangers of drugs and substance misuse is underway at schools across Kent and Medway.
First launched by Kenward Trust back in 2016, Think Differently offers a proactive alcohol and substance education programme to young people aged between 11 and 18.
Volunteers, former prisoners, and sessional workers are reaching out to pupils with the aim of helping them to get a clearer understanding of the physical and mental consequences of substance misuse.
The campaign also includes powerful videos highlighting their thoughts, feelings, behaviours and underlying issues as well as real life accounts from friends and family members of youngsters that have died as a result of using drugs or other dangerous substances.
Those videos will be played throughout secondary schools in Kent and Medway.
This year’s Think Differently campaign has garnered special attention because of a fundraising initiative for the project by the family of 15-year-old Owen Kinghorn , who tragically died in Ashford last year after taking a lethal dose of MDMA.
Owen was sadly not the only Kent teenager to succumb to substance misuse in 2019.
Another was Canterbury College student Will Horley, 17, who sadly lost his life after ingesting Tramadol - a powerful prescription painkiller that is sometimes used as a recreational drug.
During the emotional videos, Owen’s mother Rachael, his grandfather Dave as well as Will’s mother Kim Webster offer heartbreaking insight into their personal tragedies as well as pleas to young people never to dabble in drugs or other similar substances.
“We want young people to gain a better understanding of the effect substance misuse has on their physical and mental health, emotional wellbeing, relationships and future achievements,” said Penny Williams who is the CEO of Kenward Trust.
“They will hear real stories from real people in a very open and honest way and how the effects of alcohol and drug use can have a devastating impact on their families and friends.”
She adds: “Our long history of supporting people with alcohol and substance addiction issues, and the running of our youth programmes, means that we are acutely aware of the importance of early education around alcohol and substance misuse.
“Whether you’re a concerned teacher, parent, guardian or even an anxious young person, this campaign is for you so please do get in touch.”
With an alcohol and drugs rehabilitation centre in Yalding near Maidstone, Kent charity Kenward Trust has been supporting men and women with alcohol and substance dependency issues for over five decades.
For more information about Think Differently, visit the official website here or telephone 01622 814187.