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Drug Prevention in School; Why We Need it.

By Hempology | March 26, 2007

Changes in families and the community outside the school during the past few decades have resulted in increasing challenges for teachers, schools and the education system as a whole. In addition to providing a caring and supportive learning environment, schools are expected to undertake activities that prevent high-risk behaviours among their students. One of these is harmful drug use.

Research has shown a number of causes for young people engaging in use of alcohol and other drugs. Some are family conflict, family discipline problems such as unclear rules for behaviour and excessive or inconsistent punishment, poverty, family history of drug abuse, low connection to community and academic failure. Although no single factor can be said to cause harmful drug use, the more risk factors a young person is exposed to, the greater the impact on their later development.

It is possible to reduce the risks of drug use by building up protective factors in young people: a sense of belonging and connectedness in the family, a warm relationship with at least one parent or significant adult, a sense of belonging at school, meaningful involvement in school and community activities, feeling loved and respected, and having religious or spiritual connectedness.

The most successful strategies are those that target risk factors and attempt to create or enhance protective factors. This effort is integrated across the community.

School District 73 understands schools are a vital part of linking drug prevention across the community. Our district is employing research-based strategies that serve to enhance protective factors in children and offer them critical skills needed to reduce the harmful effects of substance abuse.

Some of these are positive school-based behaviour management strategies to build school connectedness and set high standards for behaviour, peer-led activities and initiatives which offer young people opportunity for meaningful involvement, recognition of problem substance use in students and effective referral for counseling and intervention.

Harmful drug use by young people is a concern for everyone. Schools have an important role to play, as do families, community, law enforcement and governments. School District 73 is proud to be working together with these stakeholders to help improve the wellbeing of youth in our community.

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