NCIDU 2010 – The Ballad of the Two Charlies and The Waiting Room


Tales from the robber’s dog – The ballad of the two Charlies. Film, presentation and discussion session
Michael Linnell, Director of Communications, Lifeline, Manchester

I’m always on the look out for useful videos  to show in training sessions. I have long been a fan of Lifeline Publications for their no nonsense approach and informing in a targetted way.  Mike Linnell began by giving us a history of Lifeline publications and indicated the trouble he has caused along the way with people who may be shocked by the content of his brilliant campaigns. Oh well. I think they are great.  I like them because there’s no messing around. They do what they need to, making  their point in a direct and relevant way. Having used the Mr Mange Goes Over video in my Heroin training sessions I was looking forward to seeing ‘The Ballad of the Two Charlies’. The usual humour combined with subtle and not so subtle messages.

I was not disappointed. As with a lot of Lifeline Publications, both the booklet and the video is not something I would choose  to show to a class of Year 7’s but then anyone can use their common sense when choosing resources if they thinks carefully about their target audiences. It focuses on the transition from Cocaine to Crack Cocaine and highlights the difference in attitudes between the use of Heroin and Cocaine.  It shows  the effect of Crack addiction on one of the Charlie’s. It has been shown in prisons and I think it will be something I will be able to use when training Probation/Police Officers as well as service user groups in Cocaine and Crack training. Unfortunately there is no link for this as yet but I’ll provide one as soon as there is.


BBV prevention for young people: ‘The Waiting Room’. A BBV prevention film and education toolkit for use with vulnerable young people
Colin Tyrie, Senior Public Health Development Advisor (Substance Misuse), Manchester Public Health Development Service, NHS Manchester

I warmed immediately to Colin Tyrie from the beginning of his session. ‘The Waiting Room’  is a series of three short educational films aimed at prevention of BBV’s in young people. The three characters are shown putting themselves at risk of Hep C, each in a different way.

The first scene is two lads sharing the same note to snort Cocaine, the second a teenage girl who was making the choice whether or not to have sex with a (very eager) young man and the last showed a lad being injected with Heroin.

It was this last one that provoked the most questions and discussion at the end of the session. Mike Linnell was very vocal at suggesting that this scenario was not realistic. In the majority of cases when people inject they are making a conscious choice to do so. The film as you will see does provide a rather sterotypical predatory older man injecting him. I felt  though that rather than invalidating the use of the video it could be a good tool for debate around the issues by asking young pwople what they think. Is it realistic? Do they have the choice most of the time? What can they do to prevent being put in similar vulnerable situations etc etc. The Waiting Room also comes with a PDF toolkit on how to utilise the video within a school setting.  More needs to be done about raising awareness of BBV transmission through methods of drug use other than injecting. I’m sure a lot of young people are unaware of the risk of sharing notes/straws when snorting Cocaine and need to know how much easier it is to contract Hep C than things like HIV which they are more fearful of.

There we go. Two lovely resources for you to think about.

Thanks for reading.

Stace x



Posted on October 13, 2010, in Drugs and Alcohol, Harm Reduction and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Yes I too am a big fan of lifeline publications… Sometimes it’s pretty horrid, gross and maybe a bit sexist!….. But kids read them… And sadly they often don’t read the excellent stuff hit do… But they do roach the covers :0)

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