Pubdate: Thu, 29 Oct 1998
Source: An Phoblacht/Republican News
Contact:   1998 Phoblacht/Republican News


New research in Scotland showing that children as young as nine are
being offered drugs and media reports this week of an 11-year-old boy
in possesion of UKP500 worth of heroin in his schoolbag, will no doubt
make one man even more determined to his efforts to educate youngsters
in the dangers of drug abuse.

That man is David Bryce, founder and director of Calton Athletic
Recovery Group in Glasgow.

What began 13 years ago as a football team and social club in
Glasgow's East End to give recovering addicts support and the ability
to stay clean, has become a registeed charity funded by Greater
Glasgow Health Board and Glasgow City Council, with a success rate of
72% in getting addicts clean, and staying clean.

In 1985, Davy Bryce, a recovering alcoholic and drug addict, who got
himself off heroin, recognised that it was back in the community that
addicts faced the battle to stay clean. With that in mind, Calton
Athletic Football Club was born.

It took another six long years before it was possible to get funding
to establish a recovery programme from a centrepoint. 1991 seen that
dream realised when Jimmy Boyi, from Edinburgh's Gateway Exchange put
up the money for a premises for the group. He had seen the good work
they had been doing and up until then Davy had been helping addicts
from his own home.

What began as a three roomed premises in Glasgow's London Road, has
now become a larger centre in Dixon Street in the City Centre.

No longer just a football team, Calton Athletic offers not only a very
succesful day recovery programme but a practical aftercare programme.
And now thanks to a unique partnership with Scotland's biggest selling
newspaper the Daily Record, recovering addicts who are ready to face
normal life again,can, as part of the aftercare programme, become
vendors for the newspaper.

Alongside these programmes are the Drugs Prevention School Project,
the Drug Prevention Soccer Sevens for Under 11's, who boast Scotland's
own Ally McCoist as the League's biggest fan, the Under 18's
Prevention in Action, of whom World Boxing Champion Prince Naseem is
an honorary member and the Calton Athletic Women's Group.

But perhaps their biggest claims to fame, apart from the great work
they've done for addicts in Glasgow, is having a film, Alive and
Kicking, made about them and acting as advisers for the box office
smash Trainspotting. The stars of Alive and Kicking, Cracker star
Robbie Coltrane and funny man Lenny Henry are now patrons of Calton
are both particularly impressed with the groups work with the schools.

"Their work in schools is totally inspiring'' says Robbie Coltrane
"Clearly this is a marvellous way of persuading kids not to use drugs.
For pupils to hear it from people who've been to hell and back must
have a dramatic effect''.

So what exactly does the Drugs Prevention Schools Project do? Quite
simply, the team give honest experience from a credible source - their
own. No shock tactics, no moralising, just honesty. Which is the key
to change for every addict.

But like any other group trying to do good work within communities,
staying afloat, financially, never proves easy. Particularly when
you're a thorn in the side of the Statutory authorities, as Davy Bryce
believes Calton Athletic always has been, mainly because they have
constanly refused to toe the `party' line of giving addicts drugs on
prescription, otherwise known as Methadone alias Harm Reduction.

Calton have always and will always refuse to compromise their stance
of clients doing cold turkey and then staying completely drug free.

While Calton Athletic have over the past 13 years won widespread
acclaim for the work they've done, there is, as always, the doubters
and critics.

Despite their sucess rate, the critisim appears to be a failure to
accept that a group of reformed addicts who've been to hell and found
their own way back, drug free, maybe, just maybe, know better than the

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