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Improving Schools-Based Drug and Alcohol Education


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This presentation was given at the Primary Care and Public Health 2016 Conference. It explores effective ways to improve school-based alcohol and drug education, ensuring the use and promotion of evidence based practice.

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Improving Schools-Based Drug and Alcohol Education

  1. 1. Primary Care & Public Health 19th May 2016 Jamila Boughelaf Improving Schools-Based Drug and Alcohol Education – Best Practice
  2. 2. Who we are Mentor is the UK’s authoritative voice in protecting young people from the harms of drug and alcohol misuse. Research Programmes Policy
  3. 3. Our approach A holistic, life-course, systemic approach to prevention: Developing life skills that build resilience to risk. Throughout a young person’s lifetime CMOannualreport:2011‘Onthestateofthepublic’shealth’
  4. 4. A connected ecosystem COMMUNITY YOUNG PERSON FAMILY SCHOOL Carers Parents Teacher & staff training Healthy Schools Extracurricular activities Leadership Resilience education Life-skills education PSHE Faith-based organisations School policyHealthcare services (incl. mental health) Emergency services External service providers Research and resource centres Local Education Authorities Media and advertising Youth / community groups Child protection services Rehabilitation services Prisons Charities Government National policy Data collection Legal services Carers’ support services International policy NGOs Businesses Work experience PRUs Peers
  5. 5. Effective prevention • Develop life skills that build resilience to risk in children & young people • Age appropriate & early • Holistic, life-course approach • Evidence-based
  6. 6. Why is school-based education important? • School interventions reduce substance use and improve academic outcomes • Strong attachment to schools is in itself a protective factor • Opportunity for learning with peers – normative beliefs • Multi-sessions and regular follow-up to reinforce learning
  7. 7. How do we improve school- based alcohol and drug education? Evidence •Accountability • Confidence • Feedback for improvement • Evaluation of impact
  8. 8. What is evidence? • Rigorous evaluation assessing impact and outcomes • Replicability across multiple settings • Sustained effects over time “Evidence is information in support of an assertion. That information can be strong or weak. We want that information to be as strong as possible.” – Centre for Youth Impact
  9. 9. Mapping evidence Source: UNODC International Standards on Drug Use Prevention, 2015
  10. 10. How does evidence inform practice? Standards for curriculum based education Evidence-based resourced programmes
  11. 11. A model of good drug education • Needs-led and age-appropriate; • Interactive learning; • Develop positive health values; • Developing personal and social skills; • Challenging misperceptions about the prevalence and acceptability of drug use among peers.
  12. 12. What does work?  Approaches based on ‘social influences’ are the most effective at changing young people’s behaviour.  Programmes based on life-skills approaches were found to reduce alcohol, tobacco and cannabis use.
  13. 13. Life-skills education • Critical thinking • Decision-making • Creative thinking • Effective communication • Navigating risks • Relationship skills • Self-awareness • Empathy • Coping with emotions • Normative beliefs
  14. 14. What doesn’t work × Emphasising harms (scare techniques) × Knowledge-based education (relying on information alone) × One-off sessions × Passive approaches (posters, leaflets, TV adverts) × Use of ex drug users and/or police officers
  15. 15. How to use information effectively? Social norms: A social norms approach seeks to use actual behaviours and up-to-date, reliable data to challenge the influence of misperceived behaviours. e.g • Data on ‘number of 15 years old who have tried cannabis’ can be flipped to show ‘number of 15 years old who never tried cannabis’
  16. 16. Sharing best practice Mentor-ADEPIS is publicly acknowledged as the leading source of evidence-based resources for alcohol and drug education and prevention for schools.
  17. 17. Supporting best practice For schools: - Quality Standards - Quality Assessment Framework (Quality Mark) For providers: - Quality Mark for Providers Local Authorities and Public Health Authorities: - Systemic support and structural review of services provided by the Local Authority
  18. 18. Free CPD
  19. 19. @Mentortweets @MentorADEPIS Email: Phone: 020 7552 9920 Stay connected