Apps to help you help teenagers – No.5: KnowDrugs…

When I was a student. I spent a year working in street-based drugs project. What an eye-opener that was!

Photo courtesy of ©123RF/Sereniy

Photo courtesy of ©123RF/Sereniy

Anyone seeking to help troubled young people is going to come across the drugs issue sooner or later.

Are you ready for it? How much do you know?

Here’s a way you can have great information at your finger tips…

The KnowDrugs App… 

After a year working with people who use drugs, I knew a fair bit. It was a great grounding, both in terms of knowledge and in values.

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Recently, I discovered that my knowledge had a “sell by” date…

My teenage son asked me a question related to drugs. I stumbled over the answer. My knowledge was long out of date!

So, if you’re anything like me, you’ll be glad of a good source of up to date information. I have just the app for you!

Image courtesy of ©KnowDrugs.org

Image courtesy of ©KnowDrugs.org

KnowDrugs provides easy-to-access, useful information and advice about the important issues around young people’s drug use. Here’s what the website says:

“Using video, graphics and photos this essential app equips you with a comprehensive collection of resources that you can use to educate your teenager about the world of drugs.”

There are three sections to the app:

1.   A-Z Drugs Guide:

This has three subsections: an A-Z list of drugs, an A-Z list of drugs using street names (slang) and a glossary of street drug terms.  The two A-Z sections are cross-referenced, comprehensive and give great information in plain language. Each drug has a short paragraph on:

  • Name of the drug or drug group, along with a photo and a short information video
  • Street names
  • Appearance
  • How is it used
  • What young people may have heard about it – some of the street-myths surrounding each drug
  • Risks – a more objective summary of what a drug really does
  • Signs of use
  • Paraphernalia used

The video clips of each drug are presented using input from users – this is unsensational and appropriate, as well as useful.

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2.  FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions):

TV and film actress, Nicola Reynolds, presents these advice videos, these are short (around 30 seconds) and helpful. The videos cover the following areas:

  • Why do some young people use drugs?
  • What are the dangers?
  • How should I talk to my teenager about drugs?
  • How can i recognise the signs of drug use?
  • My teenager is using drugs – what should i do?

Under each of these 5 question categories there are between 5 and 8 other questions, each with a video response.

“Completely up to date information on the latest drugs on the streets, their effects, dangers and key signs to look out for – including new ‘legal highs’.”

3. Emergency:

This isn’t the usual list of phone numbers that appear inmost apps. There is a video showing the basic first aid that might be required.

Three videos showing you:

  • How to check if someone is breathing
  • If they aren’t – how to do chest compressions and emergency breaths
  • If they are – How to put someone in the recovery position

I really like the raw practicality of this section. It gives you what you need to know – no nonesense.

The app is called KnowDrugs on the icon, but has the words “Parents Guide” as a strapline. The lack of an apostrophe in “Parents’ Guide” isn’t the only fault here :0). This app would be brilliant for young people; I just hope the strapline doesn’t put them off…

The other draw back is that KnowDrugs is an iPhone and iPad app – to my knowledge there isn’t an Android version yet.

Here’s a video about the app to give you a taster…

Video: KnowDrugs: The Parents Guide from Sugar Creative Studio on Vimeo.

Find the download instructions and a link for iTunes here.

Final thought…

Of all the apps covered so far in this series, this is the first one that has a cost attached. That said, I reckon it’s very well worth the £1.49 price tag.

My son inherits my old iPhone this week. I shall be paying for and installing this app on it, right away.

There is another app planned for the KnowDrugs stable – KnowDrugs, The Professionals Guide. If it’s anything like this one, it’ll be well worth having – watch this space!

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Question…

  • What benefits have you found in technology? How has this helped the young people you know and/or work with?

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© Jonny Matthew 2014

Acknowledgement: Some material and images in this post is taken directly from the KnowDrugs website – with thanks!

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