ILFORD, UK — (June 14, 2006)
Rivka Chaya Berman

Two thousand students a month, at 52 London area schools, ask their darkest questions about drug use to educators from Chabad Lubavitch Ilford Center’s Drugsline. Now the fifteen-year-old program has been selected by the National Collaboration Center for Drugs Prevention to be among seven drug education groups receiving a week of cutting-edge consultation from experts at Liverpool’s John Moores University.

Evaluating the impact of drug education is the stated goal of the conference sessions, but thousands of people helped through crises already know the benefit of ringing Drugsline. And for Chabad, managing the toll-free crisis and support line, drop-in counseling center and drug education programs has built bridges between the Jewish community and their multi-ethnic neighbors.

Most of the 1,000 calls to Drugsline each year are from parents or family members worried about a relative’s drug use. But Drugsline’s full time staff of eight, three part-time counselors and 40 volunteers are ready for anything. Recently, a 24-year-old cannabis user phoned for help off the merry-go-round of escalating need; another user experienced a flashback, reacted poorly, spent time in a mental institution and wanted help putting his life back together. As the evening wound down, the Drugsline phone rang again: a teenager professing not to be distressed by her drug use called for a boost in the right direction.

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