A critical early decision for your Local Drug Action Team (LDAT) is to decide whether to link to and support the uptake of an existing evidenceinformed education program, or to support your local school/s in delivering appropriate and effective education sessions.
LDATs are not responsible for drug education in schools as it’s the school’s responsibility to determine how it will meet its health-related curriculum. The important role an LDAT can play is to support their schools by promoting parent and community involvement with the school’s activities. LDATs may consider delivering additional complementary activities beyond the school environment to strengthen this work through a whole-of-community approach.
We encourage LDATs to link schools with existing alcohol and other drugs education programs that have been shown to work. In addition to the three listed here, you may find other education programs through peak youth bodies, local health services and by drawing on local knowledge and networks.
Consider the following when selecting an evidence-based alcohol and other drugs education program to support your education in schools activity.
Be mindful that there are numerous examples of poor practice in alcohol and other drugs education in schools. Remember, education programs can be effective provided they are based on principles of ‘effective practice’.
When reviewing existing education programs, consider the table What works and doesn’t work, in order to assess whether the program is likely to be effective or not.
Due to the limited number of quality education programs available and the need for tailored approaches, many Local Drug Action Teams will support schools to develop and deliver a targeted education activity for their school community. Review the paragraph below Determine resources required and Map your steps for insight into what is required when supporting schools to develop new approaches.
There is a lot of information available on alcohol and other drug-related issues. Sometimes high-profile public incidents, controversy, and the political landscape can skew perceptions around the alcohol and drug issues in communities.
For guidance on gathering reliable information view Identifying alcohol and drug issues.
Local Drug Action Teams are not responsible for delivering alcohol and other drug education in schools, unless the group has the appropriate expertise and relevant training. Their role is primarily to support schools to deliver quality alcohol and other drugs education. This can be done in many ways, including:
Setting objectives for your activities is an important part of the planning process and helps to ensure critical components of your activity are supported.
Schools that are delivering existing education programs such as CLIMATE schools can use or adapt the objectives already established for these programs.
Over the next (xx time) months, work with (insert number) schools of the (specify name) community to:
- (xx number) students will report a demonstrated increase in awareness of the harms of risky drinking and/or other drug use
- (xx number) students can report specific harms associated with risky alcohol and other drug use
- (xx number) students will report a change in their belief of the harms associated with risky alcohol and other drug use
- (xx number) students will report that they are less likely to use alcohol and other drugs.
Strong partnerships are critical to your success in preventing alcohol and other drug-related harms among students or in the broader community.
Productive partnerships between schools, family and the community provide a strong network of connections that can help protect young people against a range of harms including those associated with drugs, emotional distress and problem behaviors.
Partners can also support the education program in many ways, including promoting the program, recruiting schools, providing expert guest speakers, financial support, and much more.
The focus of the education (e.g. social emotional wellbeing, resilience) may influence the type of individuals, networks and organisations that your group partners with.
Partners may include:
LDATs have a key role in facilitating productive partnerships between schools, family and the community. The involvement of families and the community in alcohol and other drugs education in schools can increase the likelihood of their effectiveness and promote long-lasting effects.
The Parent Involvement in Drug Education: Guidelines for Schools provides the following six guidelines for parental involvement:
Useful resources: Working with community partners.
All education programs in schools need to be adequately resourced. Below is an indicative list of resources required for schools to deliver alcohol and other drug education. Local Drug Action Teams may be able to support schools by providing some of these resources or linking them to other partners who can provide additional support.
While you are planning your activity, it is important to consider measures to success for your education in schools activity. Determine how you will evaluate the success of your activity linking your evaluation measures to your objectives (see Measure your success).