A Christian charity has launched a new fundraising campaign to help protect children against drug abuse during the lockdown.
Reports suggest that school closures enforced by the government to prevent the spread of the coronavirus could expose young people to anti-social behaviour.
The Children's Commissioner for England, Anne Longfield has commented that vulnerable children are at a 'real risk' of being recruited by criminal gangs whilst they are learning from home. Alcohol sales have also risen dramatically in the past 5 weeks with off licences reporting an increase of 31.4 per cent.
Thuli Ndlovu from drug education charity Hope UK says: "it's really a difficult time for young people at the moment because most of them are having to adapt to home-schooling. They are at risk of being recruited by gangsters to transport drugs and they are also at risk of using drugs more than they would have if they were going to school.
"They may also be more exposed to parents who are drinking far more than they usually would."
Hope UK has always championed the notion that you can have a good time without using alcohol or other drugs - even if you can't go out.
Its light-hearted campaign 'All Dressed Up' with nowhere to go encourages people to dress up at home and make a donation to its work in tackling substance misuse.
Spokesperson Thuli Ndlovu tells Premier: "We just wanted to have fun with everybody during the lockdown - people are missing dressing up so why not get glammed up at home.
"We are asking people to post a photo of them dressed up on social media, nominating five of their other friends to do the same," she added.
If you are finding it hard being stuck at home why not— Hope UK (@HopeukUK) April 29, 2020
photograph yourself looking fabulous as you do the washing up, exercising etc. -
'I’m #alldressedup with nowhere to go for @HopeukUK. I’ve donated £5 to Hope UK (Text ALLDRESSEDUP to 70085 or https://t.co/bYWyUWiYm0... pic.twitter.com/AVdPNX04uy
The initiative will raise funds to educate young people on the dangers of drug use.
Ndlovu says drug education is crucial in protecting young people.
"They need the education from as young as four or five, so that as they grow up, they're aware of the harms of alcohol and other drugs. I think there is this notion for young people that because a drug is legal, it means that that drug cannot harm them. But that's not actually true - we are seeing more and more.
Young people who are getting admitted in hospitals because of taking too much alcohol."
Listen to Premier's interview with Thuli Ndlovu here: