Daniel Spargo-Mabbs Foundation hosts drug education forum

Fiona Spargo-Mabbs OBE, director and founder of the DSMF Pic: Fiona Spargo-Mabbs 

A drug education forum bringing together substance education practitioners from across the UK will be hosted by the Daniel Spargo-Mabbs Foundation on March 20. 

The Drugs Education Forum (DEF) was soft-launched on 20 February to mark the 10th anniversary of the death of Daniel Spargo-Mabbs, who overdosed on MDMA in 2014. The commemoration was marked by the release of a video highlighting the importance of drug education at the DSMF’s 10th anniversary event in Croydon and the DEF’s website going live. 

The Drugs Education Forum (DEF) aims to uphold evidence-based standards and provide access to expert speakers, and the latest evidence, research and resources to improve outcomes for young people about drugs and alcohol use.  

The initiative has commitments from a wide range of individuals and organisations. 

A steering committee is being chaired by Fiona Spargo-Mabbs OBE, director and founder of the DSMF. 

National scale

Spargo-Mabbs told Eastlondonlines: “I hope that [the forum] will play a really active role in improving provisions for young people across the country, so that the drug education they’re getting is preparing them well enough for the choices that will come their way about drugs and alcohol.

“It means an enormous amount that we were able to launch [the forum] on our 10th anniversary. Ten years, a decade after starting the charity, a decade after Dan died, that we’re able to do something that will hopefully be so incredibly positive and on a really national scale.” 

She added: “I feel really honoured for us as a charity to be able to re-launch this community and practice nationally. It had been organised and led by Mentor UK, which was a drug education charity that sadly folded in 2019 and they were absolutely the upholders of evidence-based standard in drug prevention for 20 years. Unfortunately, when they folded a lot of brilliant work went with them, and so I’m just delighted that we have been able to re-launch this as a charity and that we’ve been able to put it together.” 

Good intentions are not enough

An online webinar will be held to officially launch the DEF, featuring Professor Harry Sumnall, Professor in Substance Use in the School of Psychology at Liverpool John Moores University as keynote speaker. 

He said in a DSMF press release: “The drugs landscape is always changing – new substances emerge, different drugs come in and out of fashion, and technology affords young people new ways to access and use those drugs. All of this means that drug education and prevention have never been more important. However, just having good intentions is not enough, and there are many examples of poor quality drugs education in the past.  

“This is why the launch of the Drugs Education Forum is so welcomed. Evidence-based, ethical, and supportive drugs education helps to provide young people with the skills to make healthier and safer decisions, to reduce risks of harms from drug use, and to develop the confidence to seek help for themselves or their friends if they need it.” 

Other organisations involved in the initiative are Crew 2000, We Are With You, KIP Education, Substancy, Talk About Trust, Volteface and Neurosight

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