Every secondary school across Australia will this week receive a new, free and evidence-based drug education resource that aims to empower young people to make positive choices for their health and wellbeing.
Researchers at the Centre of Research Excellence in Mental Health and Substance Use (CREMS) at the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre (NDARC) have developed and distributed to 3072 secondary schools across Australia a series of three drug information booklets targeted at students, parents and teachers respectively.
Written by 20 experts from NDARC and the National Drug Research Institute, the booklets provide evidence-based information on illicit drugs, including their prevalence, effects and potential harms. Each booklet includes additional information relevant to the target audience, including guidance for students around making informed choices and dealing with pressure from peers; advice about what parents can do to protect against drug use; and for teachers, information about proven school-based prevention programs.
The booklets are based on a harm-minimisation framework and link with the Australian school curriculum.
Teachers, parents and students had input into the content and design of the resources, with focus testing conducted across New South Wales, Western Australia and South Australia.
Each secondary school in Australia will receive 20 copies of each booklet with further copies available for free download.
The booklets are part of a broader strategy being undertaken by researchers at CREMS to equip school communities with accurate, up-to-date and evidence-based information on drug use. This work includes an app-based game, called ‘Pure Rush’; a one-stop portal of drug education resources, called Positive Choices; and internet-based health education courses that target both drug use and mental health concerns.
The booklets were developed with funding from the Australian Government Department of Health.