Drug education in primary schools: putting policy and research into practice

Rory Allott (Rory Allott is a Psychologist in Doctoral Training, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK)
Roger Paxton (Roger Paxton is Head of Psychological Therapies and Research, Northumberland Mental Health NHS Trust, Morpeth, UK.)

Health Education

ISSN: 0965-4283

Publication date: 1 December 2000


Reports on evaluation of a school‐based drug education programme delivered throughout a mixed rural and urban county in the North of England. Measurement approaches and methods to encourage parents to participate are described. Building on recent research, and in keeping with current UK drug prevention policy, the programme aimed to provide pupils with information about drugs and training in life and resistance skills. The needs of teachers, pupils and parents were assessed, and training and support provided based on those needs. This phase of the project was conducted in ten schools and involved 633 children aged nine to ten years, 33 teachers and 320 parents. Needs assessment showed that parents and teachers lacked confidence, knowledge and skills in talking about drugs with young people. Following the intervention, teachers reported improvement in all these areas. Pupils showed more realism in their statements about coping with drug issues, and parents expressed more confidence in talking to their children about drugs after the intervention. New methods to improve attendance at parent evenings were well received. Evaluation and needs assessment methods need to be improved still further, and there is a need for more dismantling and process evaluations of multi‐component programmes to determine what works and why.



Allott, R. and Paxton, R. (2000), "Drug education in primary schools: putting policy and research into practice", Health Education, Vol. 100 No. 6, pp. 242-251. https://doi.org/10.1108/09654280010354869

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