Saturday, February 04, 2006

Drugs education

OK, it seems to me that most drugs education in this country is carried out by teachers in their role as 'form tutors', in a compulsory slot they deliver once a week, along with sessions on HIV, alcohol and bullying. Is it not odd that most schools and colleges insist that qualified people deliver lessons on the nuances of ox-bow lakes, litmus, the Tudors and the use of speech marks; while when it comes to issues that might actually be the difference between life and death, we rely on amateurs?

My own philosophy of drugs education, as one of these amateurs, is entirely based on something my Mum once said along these lines:
'The problem is that you say to these kids "drugs will kill you and they are horrible and scary". Then their friends say to them "drugs will make you feel fantastic." So the kid takes the drugs, feels fantastic and does not die. Therefore they conclude that the teacher was lying and the friend knows better, and never listen to the teacher's advice again.'

My lessons therefore involve writing lists of both 'reasons to take drugs' and 'reasons not to take drugs' and I try and get them to move away from mouthing platitudes back to me, to being honest. Drugs feel fantastic, they won't necessarily kill you. But here are a whole load of reasons not to take them, and you can believe me, I'm telling the truth.

P.S. I'm told that the only established finding on drug education is that scaremongering tactics increase drug use. I'm told.

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