Issue date: 28 October 2002

EMBARGOED until 2.30pm Wednesday 30 October

Researchers from the Faculty of Health and Social Care at the University of the West of England have won two awards for their work on the dangers of misuse of alcohol and communicating anti drink and drugs messages to young people respectively.
The presentation of the award will take place at the Gala Lunch hosted by the Rt. Hon. Lord Bassam on Wednesday 30 October 2002 at the House of Lords.

The Nursing Council for Alcohol launched the UK-wide awards, sponsored by UNISON – the UK’s largest health union, to raise the profile of alcohol related harm in March 2002. There are three prize categories and UWE researchers have won awards for two of these ‘Innovation in Practice and ‘Personal Contribution to the field’.

Health and social care researchers, Debra Salmon, Mathew Jones and Judy Orme will receive the ‘Innovation in Practice’ prize for ‘outstanding initiative in client focused care within the primary care setting.’ Judy Orme is the Director of the Centre for Research in Public Health and Primary Development at UWE.

Their award-winning initiative involved developing a booklet called ‘Think before you drink’ with secondary school pupils from Nailsea Comprehensive School in North Somerset. These activities were part of a larger campaign entitled ‘Honesty is the Best Policy,’ set up to find new ways of communicating health messages to local youngsters. Funding for the North Somerset Drug Action Team campaign to work with young people on drink and drugs messages was received from the Department of Health.

UWE staff worked closely with the young people, giving them assistance in putting their ideas into practice through advice on drug and alcohol issues, health promotion advice, and media and technical support. The winning booklet directly addressed the gap in alcohol education resource material aimed at eleven and twelve year-olds. A website – www.honesty.org.uk – showcases the media work of all groups. The UWE team also evaluated the whole campaign in their report entitled ‘Telling it like it is’.

Project Manager Debra Salmon said: ‘The report highlights the need to recognise that the most vulnerable groups of young people to substance misuse are also the hardest groups to engage in communication initiatives. However, collaboration across all the health and welfare service can lead to more positive outcomes for these young people.’

Dr Moira Plant, Researcher and Director of the Alcohol and Health Research Trust based at UWE will receive the Outstanding Contribution Award. Speaking about her reaction to the award, Dr Plant said, “I am thrilled to receive this honour. It is all the more special because peers in the field of Alcohol abuse research have nominated me. I am delighted to be associated with the Nursing Council on Alcohol who are doing important work in providing alcohol abuse awareness training for nurses.”

Dr Plant is keynote speaker and organiser of an international conference on Drinking and Pregnancy, which will take place in Bristol on 8 November at the Watershed Media Centre.

Editors notes:

The Nursing Council on Alcohol was established as a registered charity in 2000 in Glasgow. The organisation has an express aim to promote nurses’ awareness of ways of reducing alcohol-related harm in their patients.

Professor Hazel Watson, Secretary for the Nursing Council on alcohol, said, “It has long been a perception that alcoholism is a condition requiring specialist treatment but there is good evidence to suggest that nurses are well positioned to pick up on symptoms of alcohol abuse. Nurses who have been trained to pick up on early signs of harmful alcohol use can help to identify the problem and put remedial help into action.”

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