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19 October, 2022

Commissioner Zoë and Kerry Roberts appeal to parents to be informed, aware and proactive when talking about drugs with their teens as “NotMyChild” campaign is launched.

Commissioner Zoë Metcalfe has joined Kerry Roberts in the “NotMyChild” campaign which aims to encourage parents, guardians and care givers 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 Head Teachers 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

Kerry’s and Zoë’s advice to parents, guardians and care givers

Commissioner Zoë’s letter to parents

19 October 2022

Dear parents, guardians and care givers

NotMyChild Campaign – conversations to have at home that could help to protect your child 

My name is Zoë and I am your Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner and I am also a mother, and it is in both of these roles that I write to you today.

This year I have been working with Kerry Roberts, a local mother from Northallerton. If you are not familiar with Kerry’s story, in 2019 her 15 year-old daughter Leah lost her life after taking two ‘MDMA bombs’ (a powder form of Ecstasy), whilst she was out socialising with a group of friends.

Together, and with exceptional courage on Kerry’s part, we and others have created a campaign called NotMyChild which we hope will encourage parents, guardians and caregivers, to talk with their teenage children about drugs.

The campaign provides practical information to support those conversations, as well as giving advice about where parents, guardians and care givers, as well as young people, can find help and support should it be needed.

Leah’s death was an appalling tragedy, but both Kerry and I hope that our campaign might inspire positive and practical conversations amongst families, and ultimately prevent harm before it happens.

Please take a small amount of time to view our campaign at www.notmychild.info where you will find five conversations you should start with your teens.

If you feel that it is something you would like to share with other parents, guardians and care givers that you know using your own social media accounts, you may wish to use the short films we have created at  www.northyorkshire-pfcc.gov.uk/notmychild/kerrys-story/ and #NotMyChild.

Thank you.

Zoë Metcalfe 
Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for North Yorkshire and York 

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