Advice for Teachers
Should a Youth AOD Worker talk to my class?
This is one of the most frequent requests from teachers to the YoDAA advice line. Unfortunately it is unlikely a one off ‘drug session’ for school students will impact on the prevalence of problematic drug use.
Some studies going so far as to suggest that a session that focus specifically on the dangers of drugs (and not on equipping young people to make good decisions for themselves) can actually have a ‘forbidden fruit’ effect, driving up interest in trying substances!
Is there then a place in the classroom for preparing young people for the reality of substance use that they may encounter? Absolutely.
What we do know is that classes conducted by a trusted and known adult that focus on promoting help seeking behaviours and giving students skills to make good choices for themselves (about drug use or anything for that matter) will have more of an impact on preventing problematic substance use than an hour with the world’s best youth AOD worker.
Better still, you do not need specialist drug knowledge to teach a young person to wisely weigh up the pros and cons of any decision (including drug use) and to get help if they need it.
Having said that, A youth worker, drug educator or health professional can be very beneficial to a class as a one off if they help young people understand the range of local supports and services available to them or if they support teachers to deliver aspects of drug education programs.
We also recommend this article about what works well in drug education. YoDAA has a range of articles for young people, each of which is designed to give sound information about substance use and promote help seeking behaviour.