Get Addiction Help (888) 804-0917

The Principles of Good Drug Education

The Principles of Good Drug Education

Choosing the best approach to drug education is a key task for educators. There is no shortage of guidance, information, and materials but choosing the most relevant and supportive for the group or groups you lead depend on a number of factors.

This page aims to help you understand the principles that lie at the heart of good practice; those that follow have been adapted from the latest best-practice evaluations carried out in the UK, Canada, Australia, the USA, by the United Nations and in other countries.

The Principles

1.ÿÿÿ Environment: Good drug education is…

?ÿÿÿ Underpinned by a whole school approach

?ÿÿÿ Enhanced by family-based prevention programmes


2.ÿÿÿ Planning: An appropriate curriculum is…

?ÿÿÿ Relevant and responsive to the developmental stage and circumstances of the ÿÿÿÿÿchildren and young people (see Needs Assessment below)

?ÿÿÿ Taught in the context of other personal, social and health issues.

?ÿÿÿ Manageable given available resources

?ÿÿÿ Informed by programmes that produce achievable outcomes

?ÿÿÿ Developmental: re-visited, consolidated and extended throughout childhood and ÿÿÿÿÿyouth

?ÿÿÿ Supported by appropriate training

?ÿÿÿ Evidence based and/or evaluated


3.ÿÿÿ ÿPractice: The educator…

?ÿÿÿ Creates a comfortable classroom climate

?ÿÿÿ Uses interactive teaching styles

?ÿÿÿ Is responsive to different cultural views and realities

?ÿÿÿ Includes a normative component

?ÿÿÿ Keeps up-to-date with evidence


4.ÿÿÿ Content: The selected materials and activities?

?ÿÿÿ Explore attitudes to drugs and drug users

?ÿÿÿ Provide children and young people with opportunities to develop social skills

?ÿÿÿ Use credible, reliable and up-to-date sources explore, contrast, and, where ÿÿÿÿÿappropriate, support (or challenge) attitudes to self and others, to drugs, to ÿÿÿÿÿdrug use and non-use – and to drug users and non-users

?ÿÿÿ Strengthen protective factors

?ÿÿÿ Minimise risk factors


5.ÿÿÿ Evaluation: The programme is informed by…

?ÿÿÿ Assessment

?ÿÿÿ Monitoring

?ÿÿÿ Impact evaluation


Frequently Asked Questions

ÿThe Drug Education Forum’s answers to FAQs can be downloaded here.ÿ

The paper gives answers to questions relating to drug education and commonly used terminology such as needs assessment; normative education and risk and protective factors. Links to further information and resources are provided.

Elements of Effective Drug Education

The Drug Education Forum’s paper on the cyle of learning can be downloaded here.

The paper gives guidance on each element of the cycle including needs assessment; planning; delivery/intervention; reflection and assessment; and evaluation.


Advice for Teachers on Delivering Drug Education

The Drug Education Forum’s paper offering practical advice for teachers on the delivery of drug education can be downloaded here.

The paper contains guidance on the principles of drug education, questions to ask of the school, and of yourself, as well as offering practical tips on teaching and evaluating drug education.