‘NotMyChild’ campaign launched by Commssioner Zoe and Kerry Roberts

North Yorkshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Zoë Metcalfe has joined Kerry Roberts to launch a “NotMyChild” campaign which aims to encourage parents, guardians and carers to have positive conversations with their teenage children about drugs, alcohol and other substances, before any harm has happened.

The month-long campaign was inspired by the tragic story of Kerry’s daughter Leah who died after taking drugs in 2019.

Leah was 15 when she lost her life in a car park in Northallerton after taking two ‘MDMA bombs’ (a powder form of Ecstasy), whilst with a group of friends.

Kerry wanted to help other parents to have proactive and positive conversations with their children about drugs and alcohol and so has teamed up with Commissioner Zoë to create the “NotMyChild” campaign. Full details are available at www.notmychild.info

Kerry Roberts said: “For years we have been telling our children to ‘just say no’ to drugs, and in an ideal world maybe that would be enough, but the world is complicated, growing up is hard, and young people are probably going to take risks, so as parents we need to be having different conversations with them.

“On the day Leah died, she wouldn’t have understood that the drugs she took would seriously harm her, let alone end her life.

“Although I had the ‘drugs talk’ with her, we didn’t talk about all of the things that are in the NotMyChild campaign.

“Because we can’t be with our children all the time, I would encourage all parents, guardians and care givers to talk calmly with their own teenagers, before anything goes wrong, and to support them to understand the risks associated with different types of drugs, so that they have the facts that they need, to set their own boundaries and to make their own safe choices.”

Commissioner Zoë said: “As a parent myself, I am inspired by Kerry’s determination to bring something so positive and inspirational out of Leah’s tragic death, and I fully support her in helping parents and children to have those important and often difficult conversations.

“The NotMyChild website could almost be read from top to tail whilst waiting at the checkout in the supermarket. That’s its strength, it’s a catalyst to give parents, guardians and care givers the inspiration and ideas to get the conversation started. We aren’t the experts and we know that all family relationships are different so www.NotMyChild.info is the springboard to professional and trusted advice.

“If you care for a child, please take a few minutes out of your day to read the information that we have produced based on Kerry’s experience to help you Be Informed, Be Aware, and Be Proactive in having conversations at home.

“Thank you.”

Commissioner Zoë is also writing to secondary school headteachers across North Yorkshire and the City of York, asking them to share a joint letter from herself and Kerry which encourages parents, guardians and care givers to start positive conversations with their children, early on, about drugs, alcohol and other substances.

Further information on Kerry’s story, the conversations parents should think about having, and where help and advice is available, is at www.notmychild.info