Effective practice in drug education

Explore the principles of effective drug education in NSW schools.

Existing school-based education programs play a key part in the trends associated with reduced drug use from young people. School education is about preparing young people for healthy, fulfilling adult lives. Providing comprehensive drug education supports this.

Effective drug education assists students to:

  • acquire knowledge and understanding of the complex issues involved in drug use, including up-to-date information about drugs and their effects
  • critically examine the influences on drug use
  • develop skills to communicate assertively, including how to say no, and the skills to make informed decisions, solve problems and seek further information or help from relevant support and information services
  • develop attitudes and values that promote a healthy and safe lifestyle.

For drug education to be effective it must be:

  • relevant to all students
  • sensitive to the broad continuum of student experience
  • considerate and reflective of the diverse components of identity, including gender, culture, language, socio-economic status and developmental stage
  • based on the principles of harm minimisation
  • use a whole school approach to health promotion, prevention and early intervention to student wellbeing and engagement
  • incorporate links to the curriculum, school policy, wellbeing programs, school ethos and values, interpersonal relationships and effective partnerships with parents/caregivers and services in the wider community.

A safe and supportive school environment is protective for children and young people against a range of health related risks, including substance use problems. A positive climate within and beyond the classroom fosters learning, resilience and wellbeing in students and staff.

Create an inclusive school where students, staff, families and the broader community can connect and engage in meaningful learning, decision-making and positive relationships.

The Principles of school drug education provide a framework of core concepts and values to support effective drug education practice within schools. They are intended to guide school executive, teachers and staff, as well as families, community agencies and other stakeholders, in making decisions related to drug education practice within school communities.

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