Teaching Drug, Alcohol and Tobacco Education (DATe)

Teaching Drug, Alcohol and Tobacco Education (DATe)

There has been a continuing decline in drug use by 11 to 15 year old pupils since 2001. In 2011, 17% of pupils had ever taken drugs, compared with 29% in 2001. The decline in the prevalence of drug use parallels the fall in the proportions of pupils who have ever been offered drugs, from 42% in 2001 to 29% in 2011. As in previous years, pupils were most likely to have taken cannabis or to have sniffed glue, gas or other volatile substances.

Less than half (45%) of pupils aged between 11 and 15 have had at least one alcoholic drink in their lifetimes. Boys and girls were equally likely to have drunk alcohol. The reported frequency of drinking continues to decline.

Leicestershire has an estimated 115,000 smokers, roughly 1 in 4 of the adult population. There is a significant variation between areas of the county. Just less than 1 in 4 are estimated to smoke in Melton; less than 1 in 5 in Blaby. The rate of people who do smoke is falling, among adults, young adults and under 16's.

Drug education is a statutory part of the science curriculum for schools in England and can also be delivered as part of PSHE Education

The definition of 'drugs' used by schools includes all over the counter and prescription medicines, all legal drugs including tobacco, alcohol, volatile substances, novel psychoactive substances ('legal highs') and all illegal drugs.

The aim of drug education is to provide planned and structured learning opportunities for pupils to develop their knowledge, skills and attitudes about all drugs and appreciate the benefits of a healthy lifestyle, relating this to their own and others' actions.

Evidence demonstrates that effective drug education delivered by teachers trained to use normative, life-skills based approaches, supported by parental and community involvement contributes to reduced substance misuse and improved outcomes.

Schools have an important role to play in tackling drug misuse, by providing drug education and wider support to all pupils. Schools also have a role in identifying pupils vulnerable to or affected by drug misuse so that those who need extra help either receive it in school or through links to other services. Some pupils, including young carers, may be affected by parental drug use.

  • All schools should provide drug education, delivered by trained teachers, within a planned PSHE Education curriculum which is developmental and appropriate to the age, ability and needs of pupils.
  • All schools should have a range of responses and procedures for managing drug incidents.
  • All schools should have a drug policy which sets out the school's role in relation to all drug matters – both the content and organisation of drug education, and the management of drugs within school boundaries.

As well as a focus on effective drug education, within PSHE, Leicestershire Healthy Schools helps schools implement a whole school approach to addressing the drug related needs of children and young people, as recommended by NICE.

SOW promote the teaching of drug education as part of a planned progressive PSHE curriculum; the sample lesson plans include use of age appropriate learning outcomes and regular opportunities for pupil and teacher assessment.

The Department for Education has commissioned the Alcohol and Drug Education Service (ADEPIS), who have produced national quality standards for drug education as well as other useful documents for schools and those that work with them.

Over the last 10 years there have been significant falls nationally in the numbers of young people using drugs, as well as improvements in the number of schools implementing drug policies.

Effective Drug Education

"Research has demonstrated that universal drug education programmes in schools can have an impact on the most common substances used by young people: alcohol, tobacco and cannabis. this is backed up by Cochrane systematic reviews (Foxcroft and Tsertsvadze, 2011)" Mentor, 2012

In Leicestershire in order to further reduce drug use among young people and improve drug education, we are committed to promoting evidence based practice.

This has historically been challenging as:

  • the evidence base is limited and developing
  • recent findings have not been widely disseminated
  • not all teachers have received PSHE Education training
  • some common approaches, while popular, are not particularly effective

Mentor and the Drug Education Forum published a range of documents clarifying the current evidence base and making some key recommendations:

School-based alcohol and drug prevention - what works (Mentor, 2017)

1. The principles of good drug education (2012)

2. Principles for supporting school drug education (2012)

3. Beyond the lesson plan (2012)

Reviewing your drug and alcohol policy: a toolkit for schools

Mentor- ADEPIS have produced a resource aimed to help schools with the process of reviewing their drug and alcohol policy, with practical advice on consulting with teachers, pupils, parents and others in the community.

This resource can be used by primary and secondary schools & pupil referral units, and should also be helpful for colleges, find out more about the toolkit here

Further information and support

Why not find out [www.wnfo.org.uk[External link]] Information for young people

Mentor ADEPIS are the drug and alcohol education and prevention service. You can find their drug trends resource, here

DrinkAware for Education PSHE Association Quality Assured and free of charge alcohol education resources.

Health for Teens information and support for Leicestershire schools and students

Quit Ready Leicestershire Provides support & advice to young people who wish to quit smoking. You can find out more details here:

Call the helpline on 0345 646 6666
Email quitready@leics.gov.uk

Text Ready to 66777 (an adviser will call you back)

Turning Point the integrated drug and alcohol service across the city & county of Leicestershire, works in partnership with other agencies to make sure that their service supports individuals on their road to recovery

Telephone: 0330 303 6000

Referrals: llreferrals@turning-point.co.uk

Website: wellbeing.turning-point.co.uk/leicestershire[External link]

Keep up to date with our DATe training courses on the training and events page