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   Apr 24

‘Poison Garden’ Teaches Teens Drug Dangers

A ‘poison garden’ growing plants containing strychnine and morphine is being used to teach teenagers about the dangers of drugs.

The Alnwick Garden in Northumberland is offering local schools free guided tours of its most dangerous plants as part of a structured drugs awareness programme.

The ornate gardens have been developed under the guidance of Jane Percy, the Duchess of Northumberland, in the grounds of Alnwick Castle at a reported cost of more than £40m.

School parties are being given talks on drug awareness and an opportunity to see some of the plants that produce common drugs.

The Duchess told Sky News the poison garden was created to give visitors subliminal messages about the dangers of drugs.

“I thought: if you can engage a child through stories of gruesome and very painful deaths, which is how most of these plants kill, you can then teach them about other things by stealth without them realising they are being taught a valuable lesson.

“If they knew that, it would also fail.

“It was all about story-telling and there are so many great true stories out there which have been forgotten really.”

The gardens are now run by a charitable trust which offered the first drugs awareness day to 13 and 14 year-olds from Northumberland Church of England Academy in Ashington.

Teacher Mark Fox said the experience was invaluable: “These students will take this information back to school, to their friends and to their families.

“It is a marvellous opportunity to be able to come here and to learn about the dangers of drugs in a garden where they are being grown.”

Source: Sky News

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