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Pre‐teenage pupils' experiences of education in school on the subject of illegal drugs

James McIntosh (Professor, Centre for Drug Misuse Research, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK. E‐mail: j.mcIntosh@socsci.gla.ac.uk.)
Fiona MacDonald (Research Fellow, Centre for Drug Misuse Research, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK.)
Neil McKeganey (Director, Centre for Drug Misuse Research, University of Glasgow, 89 Dumbarton Road, Glasgow G11 6PW, UK.)

Health Education

ISSN: 0965-4283

Article publication date: 1 October 2004

Abstract

There is mounting evidence that the age at which children are using and becoming exposed to illegal drugs is declining and that such use and exposure is becoming an increasing problem within pre‐teenage populations. This suggests that there is an important role for drug education in primary schools in encouraging and helping young children to avoid the use of these substances. However, very little is known about what pre‐teenage children think about the education they receive on the subject of illegal drugs and how well they think it addresses their needs. This paper reports on what a sample of 216, 10‐12‐year‐old schoolchildren had to say about the education they had received on illegal drugs. While their views were broadly positive, they expressed a desire for additional information in relation to the nature of these drugs and how to avoid them. They also had clear preferences as far as the delivery of this education was concerned. The paper concludes by suggesting that pre‐teenage children may require more education on the nature of illegal drugs and how to avoid them than they currently receive. Approaches to drug education which involve interactive methods, visual resources and the use of outside contributors with specialist or personal knowledge of drugs are recommended.

Keywords

Citation

McIntosh, J., MacDonald, F. and McKeganey, N. (2004), "Pre‐teenage pupils' experiences of education in school on the subject of illegal drugs", Health Education, Vol. 104 No. 5, pp. 281-289. https://doi.org/10.1108/09654280410560532

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2004, Emerald Group Publishing Limited