GambleAware is investing £2.5m in gambling education programmes across England and Wales, the charity has announced.
The money will go to GamCare, YGAM and Adferiad Recovery to expand the Gambling Education Hub programmes, which include toolkits, training and peer-based drama performances aimed at professionals and volunteers. The investment is part of the charity’s commitment to ‘help reduce gambling harms among young people’, it says.
The Gambling Education Hub uses early intervention and prevention methods to reduce gambling harms among children and young people, and incorporates input from people with lived experience of gambling harms. An independent audit of the Scottish Gambling Education Hub – which delivered education and training to almost 3,000 professionals and volunteers, as well as parents, carers and young people themselves – found that more than 90 per cent of practitioners and youth workers felt confident in identifying signs of gambling harm among young people, compared to 35 per cent pre-training.
Research by the charity revealed that almost 95 per cent of 11 to 17-year-olds had been exposed to gambling advertising in the previous month, seeing around six adverts on average, with young people ‘increasingly exposed to easily accessible gambling’ via social media and online gaming.
‘At a time when young people are increasingly exposed to gambling, the delivery of local focused programmes for gambling education and prevention of harms has never been more important,’ said GambleAware chief executive Zoë Osmond. ‘We hope to see the positive short-term impacts from the Scottish Education Hub’s activities replicated in our newly commissioned English and Welsh education hubs, and we are excited to have awarded this grant to these two highly experienced organisations. With young people in the UK now growing up being widely exposed to gambling marketing and advertising, these projects represent a meaningful step towards delivering a society where all children and young people are protected from the risks of gambling-related harms.’
Meanwhile, new NICE guidance to support the safe prescribing of medicines such as opioids, benzodiazepines and gabapentinoids has been criticised by the APPG for Prescribed Drug Dependence for failing to provide simple instructions for slow tapering, the ‘most important intervention for safe withdrawal’. Without this doctors are unlikely to change their current practice, the APPG states, with many patients being taken off drugs too quickly and reporting ‘devastating’ withdrawal symptoms.
’It is very disappointing that these new guidelines fail to include the simple instructions for slow tapering which are desperately needed by doctors to support safe withdrawal from these drugs,’ said APPG chair Danny Kruger. ‘This is because important evidence developed with patient groups has been ignored, as it doesn’t meet NICE quality standards. We will be urging NICE to reconsider both this evidence and their process to ensure that patient experience is properly represented in future.’
Medicines associated with dependence or withdrawal symptoms: safe prescribing and withdrawal management for adults at www.nice.org.uk/guidance/NG215