DSMF drug education reaches across the UK

25 October 2018

As many of you know, the story of Dan has been at the heart of all we have done from the very earliest days, told almost always, almost everywhere, by his mum Fiona. It resonates so powerfully with audiences of all ages and gives a relevance and context to all the information, advice and guidance we provide through our drug education programme. However, there’s only so much of Fiona to go around.

Our ambition is that all young people across the UK receive good, regular, evidence-based drug education, and that no young people face choices about drugs without the information, understanding, life skills and resilience they need to keep themselves safe from harm. The story of Dan makes all of this so much more effective, and we wanted to find a way it could be told (almost) just as powerfully as by his mum.

In order to do this, and to be able to provide effective resources to the increasing number of schools from outside our London-based reach asking for support for their school and students, we commissioned Tim Miller, former head of factual television at ITV and now with his own production company Riverdog, to create a film that tells Dan’s story. Through a combination of dramatic reconstructions and interviews - with his mum and dad, some of his friends, and the consultant who treated him in Kings College Hospital liver intensive care - we meet this boy who shouldn’t have died, find out how he did, and the impact that has had.

Just ten minutes long, this film is designed to fit into an assembly, and to introduce the PSHE programme and the reason it matters so much the students watching it listen, take part and learn over the following few weeks. This very powerful film has moved young audiences, some to tears, since we started trying it out in schools in the summer. We’ve put it all together as a digital package, and have begun sending it out to schools. The very first to receive it was Wick High School, at the very top of the Highlands next to John O’Groats and just about as far from our south London home as it’s possible to be. The need is in communities everywhere, and we’re so pleased now to have resources to help meet this.

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