Supporting Drug Education Is Vital
David Cameron in a recent online interview reconfirmed his commitment to drug education in schools saying:
?education about drugs is vital and we should make sure that education programmes are there in our schools and we should make sure that they work.?
Brian Dobson, the Chair of the Drug Education Forum, said:
?Over 60% of schools say they only teach drug education once or less a year. This isn?t enough to help ensure that our children have the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to take on a world in which drugs are all too prevalent.
?We agree with the Prime Minister that drug education must be at the heart of the drug strategy and we want to see children and young people receive that entitlement from well trained, confident teachers using excellent resources.
?We welcome the internal review of PSHE that the government will be conducting but it is vital that they grasp the scale of the challenge that faces us.?
Brian Dobson is the new Chair of the Forum and has been elected for a two year period, he went on to say:
?According to Ofsted pupils in Healthy Schools do better. We know that the National Healthy Schools team has been abolished and although schools can continue to use the approach we are concerned about the level of support that they will be able to access at a local level.
?We are in danger of leaving a generation of school children without learning opportunities and guidance to make informed choices about their health and their lives.?
The Drug Education Forum supports the Prime Minister?s view of the importance of drug education but is concerned that at local level the support for school drug education is vulnerable to cuts to services.
Indications from a recent survey by one of the Forum?s members are that 50% of local authorities in the London region have abolished their Personal, Social and Health support teams. Similar reductions are likely to be happening across the country.
Research by Sheffield Hallam University recently showed that schools who are not able to draw on this support use approaches that are less effective in their teaching of drug education.
Drug education is an entitlement for young people, providing them with the knowledge, skills and attitudes needed to lead a healthy life. Support for this provision at a national and local level must be maintained.
Drug use by young people
By the age of 15 years:
- 81% have drunk alcohol, 38% in the last week
- 40% have tried drugs, 17% in the last month
For further information about drug and alcohol use by young people and young adults visit https://www.drugeducationforum.com/drug-use/.
Government action on supporting drug education
Since the election the government has:
- Produced a drug strategy confirming the importance of drug education in schools.
- Produced a public health white paper which confirms the importance of preventing poor health.
- Commissioned an independent review of early interventions for children and young people.
- Cut the Tellus survey of young people which provided information about drug use at a local level.
- Cut the national continuing professional development training for teachers for drug education.
- Cut the national and regional teams for Healthy Schools.