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Handbook on school-based drug education launched

26 October 2004

Handbook on school-based drug education launched

Two new booklets on school-based drug education aimed at principals, teachers and drug education providers were launched today by Associate Health Minister Jim Anderton.

The booklets provide a clear message to schools that for drug education programmes to be effective, it is essential that they are consistent with the 16 core best practice principles identified.

For example, best practice drug education: is evidence based aims to prevent and reduce drug related harm has clear, realistic objectives is relevant to the needs of young people is associated with family based training is coordinated with other community initiatives.

The Strengthening Drug Education in School Communities handbook and practical guide are the result of an extensive consultation with schools, drug education providers and interested people. In response to the consultation findings, a shorter version, the practical guide, has also been developed as a quick reference tool for schools.

Both booklets provide a guide to best practice for the design, delivery, evaluation and purchase of drug education in schools. They include a checklist for schools for assessing the quality of external providers or programmes.

Drug education occurs in schools as part of the national Health and Physical Education in the New Zealand Curriculum. The handbook and practical guide aim to strengthen the effectiveness of the curriculum-based approach to drug education. They expand on the Ministry of Education’s drug education guidelines in Drug Education: A Guide for Principals and Boards of Trustees by providing information on programme evaluation and assessment of external providers.

The handbook and practical guide are part of a Ministry of Youth Development (MYD) initiative that has identified and encouraged evidence-based best practice for drug education for young people, families and communities since July 2002.

In 2003 MYD completed a literature review Effective Drug Education for Young People, which provided a basis for the best practice principles of the handbook.

MYD’s drug education initiative is one of the projects that stems from the Government’s Action Plan on Alcohol and Illicit Drugs. It has been led and coordinated by MYD in consultation with the Ministries of Education, Health and Justice and the Alcohol and Liquor Advisory Council (ALAC).

As the Minister responsible for the National Drug Strategy, Hon Jim Anderton chairs the Ministerial Committee on Drug Policy overseeing implementation of the Action Plan.

The literature review, handbook and practical guide are now available on the Ministry of Youth Development website .


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