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Drug education enables children and young people to develop the knowledge, skills and attitudes to appreciate the benefits of a healthy lifestyle, promote responsibility towards the use of drugs and relate these to their own actions and those of others, both now and in their future lives.
Drug education is the planned provision of information and skills relevant to living in a world where drugs are common place. Planning should include developing strategies for helping children and young people engage with relevant drug-related issues during opportunistic and brief contacts with them as well as during more structured sessions.
Drug education provides opportunities for young people to reflect on their own and others' attitudes to drugs, drug taking and drug takers.
Types of Drug Education
Drug education can be given in numerous forms, some more effective than others. Examples include advertising/awareness raising campaigns such as the UK Government’s FRANK campaign; and school based drug education, like that currently being evaluated by the Blueprint Programme.
Drug education can also take less explicit forms, an example of this is the Positive Futures Programme, funded by the UK Government as part of its Drug Strategy. The Programme uses sport and the arts as ‘catalysts’ to engage young people on their own turf, putting them in contact with positive role models (coaches/trained youth workers). After building a trusting relationship with a young person, these role models can gradually change attitudes towards drug use and steer the young person back into education, training and employment. This approach reaches some of the most vulnerable young people, who have dropped out of mainstream education. It also has additional benefits for the community in reduced crime and anti-social behaviour.
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