People and dancefloors podcast, In conversation with Nick Hickmott

Season 2, Episode 3

Nick is the early intervention lead at We Are With You in Kent. He works with young people in schools to promote harm reduction, with a dialogic approach aimed to empower young people to make more informed choices and develop a better understanding of the consequences of the choices they make.

On the podcast, Nick shares his journey from drug experiences in his youth to working in a secure psychiatric unit for young people, all the way to integrating his interests and experiences around drug use, harm reduction and mental health among young people his current role as early intervention lead.

We discuss the pitfalls of having grown up with prohibitionist drug education and the ‘just say no’ mantra (the this is your brain on drugs style of “education”), particularly in terms of breeding distrust in authority figures (because the experiences often contradict the message) and dismissing young people’s experiential knowledge. We agree that young people’s experiences should be the starting point of conversations about drugs, and as a society, we should aim to provide safe spaces to build young people’s trust in us, especially in what should be the mother of all safe spaces, schools.

Harm reduction, education, pleasure, exclusion, and alcohol figure quite prominently throughout our discussion.

Nick has some inspired ideas for the future: what if we had an experienced harm reduction worker in every school?

Wish this did not sound so radical.

Watch/listen to our chat here

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