Letter to parents about school drug education
In Health and Physical Education this term, our class will be building on their drug education learning from previous years using Challenges and Choices, an evidence-based education program that is endorsed by the State government and supported by the Department of Education, Catholic Education Western Australia and the Association of Independent Schools of Western Australia.
Research tells us that young people should receive ongoing and age-relevant drug education. Challenges and Choices does this by focusing on medicines, poisonous substances and passive smoking in early childhood; energy drinks, tobacco and alcohol in middle primary; and alcohol, cannabis and other drugs (including illicit drugs like methamphetamine) in secondary school.
The aim of the Challenges and Choices program is to:
develop the skills that young people need to lead a safe and healthy life such as knowing when to seek help, making responsible decisions, predicting and solving problems, and speaking assertively
give students the confidence to use a range of refusal and coping strategies that can help them resist the pressures and influences from others and therefore can keep them safe
discuss the consequences of alcohol and other drug use. Not only the physical effects on our body but also the social, emotional, financial and legal implications
develop negative attitudes towards harmful alcohol use or ‘binge drinking’ and promote the message 'no alcohol is the safest option for anyone under 18 years of age'. (Guidelines 3 of the Australian Guidelines to Reduce Health Risks from Drinking Alcohol
look at current Western Australian alcohol and drug statistics. Many teenagers believe that ‘everyone smokes’ and ‘everyone drinks alcohol’. The Australian School Students Alcohol and Drug Survey dispels this perception and can reassure your child that they are part of the majority of young people who do not use alcohol or other drugs.
Parents and families have a key role to play in their children’s drug education and can also have a strong, positive influence on their children’s attitudes towards alcohol and other drugs. It may however, be a topic of discussion that you are not confident to tackle. During the program your will receive fact sheets and links to relevant resources on a range of topics that I encourage you to share and discuss with your child.
Please contact me if you require further information about the Challenges and Choices alcohol and drug education program.
2 Australian School Students Alcohol and Drug Survey, Drug and Alcohol Office, Western Australian results www.dao.health.wa.gov.au