Today, after only a limited degree of job site wandering, I found a position on the Guardian website that would allow me to help many, many people - Substance Misuse Trainer for the Children's Society...
The area of drug and alcohol usage amongst young people is clearly one that needs to be addressed - it seems obvious to me that too few children and teenagers are being given enough accurate information about the various substances that can be abused and, when looking at the figures, it is apparent that there is considerable room for improvement...
A recent survey commissioned by MTV revealed that 35% of those questioned had attended school either on drugs or while drunk, with 49% having tried cannabis and and 12% ecstacy. Additionally, a separate study shows that 29% of 15-16 year old girls, and 26% of 15-16 year old boys regularly binge drink.
I'm not sure whether the project is aimed purely at tackling the numbers or whether it's also concerned with encouraging a greater level of sophistication in the youths it deals with. For example, it seems to me to be relatively easy to simply raise the figures (perhaps a campaign whereby free Alcopops are given away outside school gates) but would it not be better to educate children in what types of substances are the most effective? Too often it's possible to see gangs of youths drinking from a two litre bottle of Strongbow or sharing a four pack of Tennents Super - instead we should be encouraging them to move onto higher grade spirits such as Tequila and Vodka (perhaps through some kind of discount voucher scheme?).
With regard to training children in drug misuse, I believe we should try and supply them with more information on the pricing and potency of individual drugs and then find a way to move the dealing network directly into the classrooms. In fact, seeing as how teachers often find it so hard to make ends meet, it would be a sterling idea to combine the role of teacher and dealer so that it is possible for teachers to make a little extra cash on the side. It may even help improve discipline in the classroom - "Be quiet at the back Johnny or I won't sell you any smack until tomorrow..."
With a wealth of equally innovative substance misuse training ideas bubbling away I decided to strike while the iron was hot and apply, ensuring that I at least hinted at the fantastic initiatives I'd managed to come up with this afternoon in the supporting statement of my application:
Although I am not trained in Substance Misuse, I still feel I could make a considerable difference to the children within your project.
I have a wide range of ideas on how to improve matters - from making sure children have access to the right information, to giveaways outside school gates and even looking at ways in which teachers could adapt to act as an important supply conduit that will further reinforce the aims of the service.
I hope my enthusiasm will be given due credit and I would be happy to discuss my ideas with you at greater length if necessary.
Hopefully they'll forgive my lack of professional qualifications and recognise the power of my vision, for a world where all children are trained how to properly misuse substances...