Drugs and Alcohol
Secondary schools are required to offer education on the use of substances. It should form a part of RSE and PSHE education and be offered as part of a ‘spiral’ curriculum – revisited over the school career as children grow and develop.
The effectiveness of education on health risks for this age group is complicated by their brain development. They are ‘pre-programmed’ to seek pleasure, take risks and be influenced by peers. You can read more about the adolescent brain *here*
PSHE work around self esteem and building resilience can help children and young people negotiate the challenges they will inevitably face in making safe decisions.
There is much evidence that ‘scare tactics’ do not work in deterring young people from trying drugs and alcohol; you can read Public Health England’s review *here*. The Governments drug strategy(2017) sets out how the Government will tackle the complex issue of drug misuse. A broader approach is likely to have more impact- allowing for open discussion including
• attitudes towards drugs and alcohol in society
• how alcohol use is portrayed in the media
• how young people can be assertive and manage peer pressure
You can read NICE guidance on drug misuse prevention here
If a Young Person Discloses Drug or Alcohol Misuse
There may be concerns about the young person already , they may be tired, unmotivated, and disruptive. They may have poor attendance. They may disclose to you of their own volition. You may be told by other pupils, or the child may be intoxicated in school.
Follow your schools safeguarding policies to ensure the immediate safety of the young person as the priority.
A member of staff who knows the young person can play an important role in giving them time and space to talk about what is happening for them. Find a private space for the conversation.
• Talk about what you have noticed in terms of their behaviour and presentation.
• Avoid accusations - Don’t try and scare them
• Ask the young person if they have any thoughts about what they would like to change- harnessing their own motivation for things to be better is always more effective
• Support them to share their problem with parent/carer – consider their Gillick Competency
Agree to talk again
• Seek support and advice from your safeguarding lead
Be mindful that there may be others needing support in their peer group. They may also be misusing substances, or exposed to pressure to do so.
Scottish Government Review of ‘What Works’ in drug and alcohol prevention education can be found *here*
Public Health England resources for key stage 3 & 4:
Drinkaware has resources specifically to support school PSHE
How Can We Help?
Just One Norfolk Access the health advice website to explore a variety of health issues. This website is consistently being reviewed and updated.
Parent Activation Measure This helps parents think about their knowledge skills and confidence in understanding and supporting their children or unborn babies.
Just One Number Call to speak to a health professional by phoning 0300 300 0123. They will be able to provide initial advice and support and guide next steps with us or signpost you to other more relevant agencies and professionals. It is available 08.00 to 18.00 Monday to Friday and 09.00 to 13.00 on Saturdays
ChatHealth Children and Young people can access us through our text messaging service on 07480635060. They will be able to discuss any health concerns with one of our Practitioners and also be able to request an appointment if they would prefer to meet with us.
Parent Line Parents can access our services by texting our number 07520631590 . This allows them to access the advice and support from a clinician about any health issues affecting their children aged 0-19.
JustOneNorfolk Health Passport app Young people age 16-19 can download this app on apple or android phones. It provides young people age 16-19 with general health information and advice to increase health literacy. It signposts to services and promotes self care. It aims to increase resilience and wellbeing and to find out how to access health services.
Health Unlocked Parents can be signposted to this. It is a carefully monitored online community forum which allows local parents and carers to talk with each other regarding issues affecting their children. This can be accessed through our Just One Norfolk website.
Solihull Parenting Online For our Norfolk parents there is the opportunity to access this free of charge through JustOneNorfolk. It supports parents in understanding their children from 0-19 via 4 modules.
Staff working with children and families will also benefit from this – or they can book to do the two day Solihull Training provided by our service by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org