Cannabis plant image

Prevention is Better than Cure


I have used the snatch and sniff cards at several workplace training events and they have always been very well received. They proved invaluable at some recent training where participants had requested to ‘smell’ cannabis. This is something we wouldn’t have been able to do prior to the purchase of the cards!

I recently used the cards for the first time with a small group of young people. They were a great addition to our drug awareness workshops and served as a catalyst for conversation and discussion amongst the group. The young people read through all the information on the cards and once the workshop had concluded they couldn’t wait to share them with friends, siblings, teachers and parents. A really creative way to share an invaluable awareness and harm reduction message.

I also used the recent supply you were kind enough to provide with some community volunteers, 3 groups of Muslim mothers/grandmothers who are part of a local pilot scheme to improve police engagement with some of our ‘hard to reach’ communities. We’re giving them training on a number of local issues, including drugs… their reaction to the cards was amazing, and they have since been suggesting/demanding to people far more important than myself that these be available young people across the city.

We’ve been using the cards and they’ve been very well received… fact I’m about to ask our admin department to order 50 drugs smells cards for one of our Chief Inspectors as she’s so impressed and wants them for a different area!

Neighbourhood and schools’ officers are in the process of distributing the drugs cards to our safeguarding partners in educational establishments. These cards are an additional tool to inform and educate our safeguarding partners.

There were only young people at our first event, although, we had hoped for adults. The young people found the smell surprising as they didn’t realise they smelled like that and found them horrible.

We have reached 1400 year 10 pupils with your cards last week over two days. The other initiatives and campaign run in conjunction with it to provide as much saturation of the message as possible.

Parents and Teachers also received the scratch and sniff cards.

Good for use with:

• ‘Concerned others’ – family members of friends who access support from the drug service as they may have noticed a smell in their home before and never really knew what it was. They have been able to use the scratch and sniff cards with concerned others to try and narrow down what substances they are potentially using.

• Response from the young people and professionals Youth Health Team have used them with have been overwhelmingly favourable.

• Youth Health Team used in one to one intervention sessions with young people, supported housing projects, NEET traineeship providers, Pupil Referral Units and alternative curriculum providers during substance misuse awareness and health and wellbeing workshops.

• Community health events, other engagement with the community such as meetings with local police officers

• Training events - worked in a recent GP training event.

• Staff at facilities where clients misuse drugs to raise awareness

• Schools, youth club, doctor surgeries

General positive comments:

• Good tool to get people talking, is quite different and attracts attention.

• Very positive feedback from all stating that they were an excellent education tool, most people are unaware what these drugs smell like so very informative.

• The cards are great for engaging with members of the public because can joke about the bad smelling ones.

Thanks for your help with the “Scratch & Sniff” cards.

We have used these recently in two drugs awareness sessions we have facilitated, one to secondary school parents, the other to professionals working within the Community Safety umbrella. The cards were very popular in both sessions, with positive feedback given.

Whilst it would seem that many people could recognise the cannabis smell, the biggest surprise was for the smell of amphetamines.

The cards have been a very useful tool in our awareness raising efforts.

I personally think it’s great, shows it for how it is. I also like the NPS scratch card message as that is big on the agenda at the moment, reference to being a “guinea pig” is a great choice of phrase. Both cards are excellent from my perspective, not only for children but for partner agencies (housing officers etc) to get used to smells helps the UK Police Forces gain information on drugs e.g. Cannabis cultivations.

On Saturday 1st April 2017, we hosted our Choices for Life event at East Kilbride Shopping Centre, in partnership with NHS Lanarkshire and Cumbernauld PSYV. The event was a huge success. This was the launch of our new DRUGS – KNOW YOUR SMELLS scratch & sniff card and they went down a storm. Since then, I've had numerous people contacting me, regarding the cards, as the word has got around.

Over the 3 hours, that we were there, we estimate that we spoke to over 500 members of the public (predominately young people and parents), raising awareness of substance misuse and internet safety, whilst promoting the Choices for Life message.

The drugs/NPS scratch and sniff cards were really well received and will be a fantastic resource for Safer Communities Officers to use and continue to promote the Choices for Life message. I can honestly say, the targets we set have been surpassed. Our intention is not only to educate and prevent people from taking substances, but to signpost those, who are unfortunately taking them, to partner agencies, who can get them back on a more positive pathway. The cards deliver that message to, not only the 11-18 year olds we are targeting, but the parents who are now coming forward seeking help.

The cards have gone down a storm and the NHS representative was well impressed with the quality and design.

The Scratch n Sniff cards have been a fantastic addition to my Substance Misuse inputs at all age groups. Many haven't smelled cannabis before and are put off by the strong smell that comes from these cards - a fantastic preventative tool in my opinion. In fact one parent told me that following a drugs talk that I had delivered and handed out the cards, his daughter recognised the smell when she was in Edinburgh and steered well clear of the individuals who were smoking it nearby – i.e. it helped to keep her safe! Superb!

'The Real Face of Drugs’ cards are also an excellent resource and pupils are quite taken aback when they see the before and after photos on the cards.

I've used the cards a good number of times now and they are very popular. They definitely add something to the talk. The only problem I have had is in persuading the pupils not to keep scratching the scratch and sniff ones so they last longer.

I presented your cards to both PSYV youth groups this week as part of a general talk on drug misuse, consequences etc.

They were well received and, in particular, the before/after cards had a visible impact on the young people.

In their opinion, they would be a useful tool for peer education at school, targeted most effectively at 1st year pupils. They thought that after that most young people would have had some exposure or formed their own opinions.

I hope this feedback is useful and can I once again thank you for taking the time to be involved, anything we can do to combat the drug scourge can only be of wider benefit.

SHARP continue to use the St Andrew Print substance scratch and sniff cards in our ‘Let’s Talk About Drugs’ training session for professionals.

The response is always interesting, we aim to raise awareness of the current climate of young people’s drug use.

These cards certainly offer insight into the smells, and we encourage professionals to have informative discussions with parents/carers about identifying smells in relation to some of the newer substances.

The cards open up varied dialogue in our training, it’s a great initiative as part of educating professionals and parents/carers’, it would be great to get more for synthetic cannabinoids please as we are seeing a huge increase in the use of mamba/spice nationally.

Having ordered these cards on recommendation, we have used them widely with young people’s initiatives and in training sessions.

The Scratch and Sniff cards have brought a lot of attention and interest, making sessions more interactive and a point of discussion.

They have been very helpful especially with practitioners who may come into contact with service users when meeting them for other support or advice.

A recommended tool for early intervention programme

It is vital that we see improvements to Drug Education in Scottish Schools. I believe Drug Education Cards are a good idea to help improve school drug education resources and provide an interactive resource to help improve drug awareness especially amongst young people.

We ordered a number of the Drug Awareness cards, called DRUGS – KNOW YOUR SMELLS from St Andrew Print, so these can be used as part of our Youth Engagement work, to raise awareness and discourage drug use within communities.

This helped in raising people’s awareness so everyone is aware of the early signs and smells to look for concerning illegal drugs and links in with our overall approach to tenancy and estate management and Vulnerability Strategy “Something Doesn’t Look Right”.

Ralph from St Andrew Print approached CAIR Scotland in relation to a number of opportunities for using technology to enhance the work that CAIR Scotland undertake with children and young people, professionals, parents and carers.

CAIR Scotland have a large target market as a result of the breadth of work undertaken in both children’s and adult services across Scotland in relation to risk taking behaviour and this was an opportunity to develop innovate resources in the drug and alcohol field. Through an initial consultation, a concept was developed with broad appeal across CAIR Scotland’s service provision and funding for this project was provided by the Alcohol and Drug Partnership teams in Angus, Dundee and Perth and Kinross.

Both Ralph and Alan have been excellent to work with and have been very accommodating throughout the process, striving to meet our expectations around the sourcing of different ‘smells’ for the product. Due to the innovative nature of the project, St Andrew Print have had to source the smells from across Europe and they have tirelessly worked to develop smells that replicate the smell of the illicit drugs. Both Ralph and Alan have committed a significant amount of time and energy to ensure that the product is credible and that the smells replicate illicit drugs as closely as possible.

People who use CAIR Scotland’s services have been consulted throughout to identify the most appropriate smells and the most appealing design for the product. I have been very pleased with the levels of interaction between Ralph, Alan and CAIR Scotland and this has really felt like a partnership effort to create our innovative resources throughout the concept and design process. Due to the extensive consultation that has taken place with people who use CAIR Scotland’s services, this has been a lengthy process to ensure that a credible resource has been created.

CAIR Scotland would most definitely work with St Andrew Print again as this has been an excellent and stress-free process from our perspective.

I must say the scratch & sniff cards are definitely a favourite when delivering workshops and presentations. I love using them as a practical resource; they are truly invaluable. It gets the young people involved in the session and also their teachers and parents!

We use the Scratch & Sniff cards frequently in our service. They are incredibly useful when we hold display stands at events as they are a great tool when explaining substances and sometimes prove to be more engaging that visual resources. When delivering harm reduction advice to parents, carers, professionals etc. who may be naive about substances, having the Scratch & Sniff cards can be a very valuable resource.

On one occasion, the team were at a local community event and were approached by a member of the public who said that they had smelt an “odd smell” whilst out and about but wasn’t sure what it was. After having a conversation with them and using the cards, it enabled us to identify that the “odd smell” was actually cannabis. The individual was shocked and began asking multiple questions, thoroughly engaging with the team, a conversation that may not have occurred without the Scratch & Sniff cards.

At Milton Keynes Hospital for Mental Health Awareness Week, myself and a children’s nurse manned the stall and spoke with patients and staff about the link between drugs and mental health. The scratch ‘n’ sniff cards were extremely popular as many people stated they were naïve and ignorant about drugs so it was helpful for them to identify smells.

This was extremely helpful with nurses also as once they recognise a smell, they are more able to help those who are at risk of using drugs/alcohol and can offer them support or signpost them to local drug and alcohol services.

We will continue to use these cards with young people for early intervention and prevention but also with professionals for them to be able to identify smells of certain drugs.

I have finished all 17 of my drug workshops now, in all of our direct delivery youth clubs, and the DRUGS – KNOW YOUR SMELLS’ cards you gave me have been used and used they are so popular and a great interactive tool to start conversations

We have incorporated the use of the scratch and sniff drugs cards into our drugs awareness education program which we offer our senior students. The cards had quite an impact on our students.

We intend to use these annually and would recommend their suitability to enhance the drugs awareness program in other schools or educational institutions.

Some teacher comments are outlined below:

"The kids found the postcards very interesting. Many were quite surprised by the smell of the powdered drugs and thought they smelled really toxic."

"They were great. Students were quite repulsed by the strong smell and were a bit shocked by the different smells. I definitely think it was a positive learning experience."

Prevention is Better than Cure

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