Alcohol and Other Drugs Education Project.
The Alcohol and Other Drugs Education Project aimed to educate students about the harms of drugs and alcohol and how to avoid them. We designed one-off workshops for sixth form students with a scientific approach and pedagogical practical activities. These were delivered at three schools by volunteers, with 950 students benefiting.
The UK is responsible for 38% of the total drug-induced deaths in Europe, not including those related to alcohol. We believe education on this topic should start from a young age considering that 35% of the population will consume at least one illicit drug in their lifetime. However, children are not receiving enough alcohol and drug education due to the lack of government funding and resources in PSHE education. Therefore, there is an urgent need of effective drug education in schools.
We wanted to come from a more scientific angle and our project’s innovative approach, reached the students by helping them understand how our body interacts with drugs and alcohol to help avoid their harms. We aimed to provide unbiased information backed up with scientific facts and empowered the students to better assess risk and critically appraise information, which has wide-ranging applications within their lives. The practical activities were based on pedagogical techniques to increase retention and engagement.
A total of 8 volunteers were trained receiving at least two training sessions before each workshop and a script to work from. These resources were improved and tailored as the project went on, using feedback from volunteers, students, teachers and principals. Each workshop was tailored to the needs of the school and drugs that were of concern to principals and teachers.
The structure of the workshops was as follows:
- An introduction the science of alcohol and drugs and how they affect us.
- Activities in groups:
- Critical thinking about credible sources of information
- Finding specific information about different drugs
- Discussing scenarios
Our approach enabled us to reach nearly 1000 students on a controversial topic using a scientific, unbiased perspective with tailored content and engaging activities which maximised the impact and gave the students skills for a lifetime.