Children hold the future, and their knowledge is something we should all invest into. Proper education about drug awareness is an important preventive measure for our kids and teenagers. When factual information against this vice is shared by adults, kids can develop a better sense of understanding. Lack of information on the negative effects of drug abuse can make kids develop curiosity falling prey to negative peer pressure. When kids try out these drugs, it places them on a high-risk of developing an eventual drug addiction.
Why is drug awareness important in schools?
Drug awareness program in the school is meant to equip learners with a wide range of skills. Information context should be age appropriate and relevant regarding students’ needs. The primary objective of drug abuse education is to spread and increase drug abuse awareness. This education usually begins with parents, by educating their children at home. As time passes by, it becomes part of the school curriculum for teens.
What contents should drug awareness program entail?
Drug education in schools should focus mainly on the provision of information about drugs and their possible harmful effects. However, this education should be age appropriate and relevant to the students’ needs.
In early years – Kindergarten to grade 3, the program should mainly focus on safe use of prescription and over-the-counter drugs. Students should also be taught about non-medicinal alternatives to these drugs; such alternatives include relaxation or use of other coping strategies. Other things that should be taught at this early age, is the overuse of legal drugs such as caffeine and tobacco. They should also be informed about the warning signs of hazardous and poisonous substances used in household cleaning and gardening products.
Middle and upper grades – grade 4 to 8, programs should focus on safe use of analgesics in addition to the things mentioned above. Alcohol and illegal drugs like cannabis should also be introduced but in later years. Students should also learn the range of factors that can contribute to using of drugs and the possible consequences if one chooses to use a drug. This helps in promoting knowledge and understanding of how to reduce the risks of harm.
In the high schools – at this level, education programs should focus on all the above. In addition, other illicit drugs like methamphetamine should be included. Additionally, students have to continue to learn more broadly on factors that can lead to legal or illegal drug misuse/or abuse.
The role of parents
Drug awareness education should start with parents. They are the strongest influencers that children have. They should take quality time with their children guiding them about the effects of drug abuse or misuse. Effective early intervention and primary parental care can have an important role in reducing harms.
The role of Governments and other agents
The governments recognize that drug abuse or misuse is a longstanding issue. To overcome this, the governments need to invest in preventive measures such as the introduction of drug awareness programs to students in schools from a tender age. It needs to also invest in drug and alcohol treatment centers for those who have already been affected.
The government should come up with a policy on preventive health for schools. The policy should provide a framework for prevention, intervention, and elimination of the use of illegal drugs or the misuse of legal drugs. The inclusion of the drug awareness program in the school curriculum will enable teachers to promote early prevention or intervention.
There are a number of government organizations, nonprofits, and educational institutions that are dedicated to researching different drugs of abuse. These organizations play a very vital role. Through research outcomes, they help to positively influence the medics and policymakers. Their research findings form a basis on which legislative changes and medical improvements can be made to help addicts in need and their families.