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ALAC Welcomes Evaluation Of Drug Programmes

Date: 17 May 2002

Current approaches to drug education are not working, according to the Alcohol Advisory Council (ALAC). It says it welcomes and endorses a new Government initiative which will evaluate the effectiveness of drug education programmes.

Youth Affairs Minister Laila Harre today announced there would be additional funding for a programme to monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of drug education.

ALAC’s Chief Executive Officer Dr Mike MacAvoy says the current approaches to drug education are not working. “Despite considerable international evidence being available as to what works and what doesn’t, New Zealand –along with other western nations - has persisted with out -of -date approaches.”

The belief that the provision of information alone necessarily leads to any change in attitudes and behaviour towards drugs has long been dispelled, Dr MacAvoy says.
“Drug education that is provided in schools without any recognition that the most powerful models of drug taking behaviour - the family and peer groups and community standards - is doomed to failure.”

Dr MacAvoy says: “Patterns of drug taking behaviour, whether that be alcohol, tobacco or any other drug, are shaped by the society we live in and any measures to prevent or reduce drug use have to occur in that context.”

We hope that the new initiative will lead to fundamentally different approaches to drug education which work, Dr MacAvoy said.


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