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Support Options

Not all drug related issues require specialist support and there is so much teachers and schools can do to help young people. Even when a young person needs specialist help or support there are many different ways that support can be delivered. Some support options are more appropriate than others for young people still at school.



A student has told me she is going ‘cold turkey’ what does that mean?

Cold turkey refers to suddenly stopping using a drug (usually opiate based, but could be another substance such as a prescription antidepressant) and deciding to experience withdrawal symptoms for the short term rather than gradually reducing substance use over a longer period of time.

Symptoms a person goes through will depend on the drug, amount and duration of use. 
There are risks associated with cold turkey and YoDAA usually advises a gradual reduction instead.

Are there any teaching aids or lesson plans for young people experimenting with cannabis?

Cannabis Information and Support offers several evidence-based resources to help you run interactive and engaging discussion-based activities for secondary school students. The sessions include classroom activities, power point presentations, real life stories, online games, posters and videos.

Should I notify child protection about a 13 year old smoking cannabis.

There is no doubt that smoking cannabis at such a young age is a concern but it is difficult to judge whether or not child protection should be involved on that information alone. It is likely smoking at such a young age is indicative of other concerns that warrant attention. “Child first” agencies may be a great start to explore circumstances and begin supporting this student and their family. 

As the wellbeing coordinator my approach is meeting resistance from other teachers. What should I do?

That is a tough situation. Drug and alcohol use is a topic where peoples values play a big part in their approaches and reactions-to the point where even the best evidence for an approach that works is often dismissed because it doesn’t feel right. 

What would a guest speaker do for kids?

It all depends on who the speaker is and what their message is. There isn’t a lot of evidence that one-off speakers talking to students about drugs has a huge impact but as part of the overall discussion and teaching about drugs and alcohol it may compliment what teachers and others can provide. In addition it can be very useful for youth workers or health professionals to workshop help seeking strategies and make students aware of local support services.

Does drug ed work?

There are some programs that have been shown to have a positive effect. One is the “Get Ready” program available on the DEECD website. It is important to note though that in order to work, programs like this have to be confidently delivered, in a way that allows students to workshop and discuss the program content. Drug programs don’t work if they are based on a “Just say No” approach or if they are simply information delivered to students. Check out more info about successful drug ed here


How Can I Help

Useful Tools

Talking to a resistant student

It’s possible that many students you support will have been forced to see you because someone else has made the judgement that their substance use is impacting negatively on their safety, health and well-being....

Advice for Teachers

When to refer to a specialist Youth AOD service

Having extra knowledge and resources within a school is great. However, there will be cases where a young person may need professional support which is beyond the resources and/or capability of the school. ...

Advice for Teachers

Identifying a problem at school

Many school students will be experimenting with alcohol and other drugs during adolescence. The older the student, the more prevalent experimentation is likely to be. ...

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Advice, tools and tips for school professionals supporting young people with drug related concerns. Designed especially for the school context.




Drug A-Z

Drug Facts

Alcohol - Fast facts for schools

Tell-tale signs of recent alcohol use are confidence, reduced inhibitions, drowsiness, unsteadiness, slurred speech and the smell of alcohol (or masking agents such as mouth wash or chewing gum) on a person’s breath....

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Cannabis - Fast facts for schools

A young person may appear talkative and giggly with excessive hunger or withdrawn and relaxed. They may have decreased concentration and slower reaction times....

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Ice - Fast facts for schools

A young person may appear talkative and extremely energetic, alert and agitated or super focused and motivated. This intense ‘high’ may be followed by a period of sleeplessness where a young person wants to sleep but is unable to...

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Understanding Youth AOD

The essential drug and alcohol information for school professionals



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