Many schools are facing a crisis with drugs at the moment. There’s a crisis going on throughout the world, and it’s affecting young people more than ever before.
The fentanyl crisis in USA schools is frightening, and it’s creeping into life in the UK too.
We all know taking drugs from a young age can be extremely damaging not only to their health, but their future too, with many people ending up on the streets, helpless and destined for a life of misery. So should schools be doing even more to further educate on drugs?
For many people going through drug addiction, they can trace back their problems to times in secondary school or higher education, which perhaps states that more can be done to try and cut it out from an early age.
But what exactly can the education system do?
Update the curriculum
First and foremost, the curriculum does need to move with the times. The drug industry is forever changing. There are emerging trends, new risks, and new methods of support. These all need to be relayed to children, as ultimately they will be seeing things on the likes of TikTok that teachers won’t be warning them about the risks of.
It needs to be a flexible curriculum that’s ever evolving in order to keep up with the real problems in the real world.
Be more engaging and interactive
Many of us will remember lessons around drugs. They essentially involved a teacher saying “drugs are bad” and “this is why”. It’s hardly engaging.
Introducing things like group discussions, role-playing exercises and real life case studies can get students more actively involved with the dangers and real-life risks of them. This, in turn, will make them much more memorable. At the minute, these lessons are taking more of a back seat but it should be information young people are really taking home with them.
Guest speakers are a good way of doing that. By bringing someone in who has a real-life experience of becoming a drug addict and entering recovery, you’ll have a resource of information to untap.
Not only can they reveal the shocking truths of taking drugs, but they can also act as inspiration to not take them or get help should they need it. Some schools do bring in experts to discuss their experiences, but it’s far from enough at present, as the statistics only show too well.
Offer age-appropriate education
It’s difficult to know when to start educating children on the danger of drugs. Some argue it should be earlier, some argue it should be later. However, by tailoring the information and messaging, you can drip feed the dangers over time in a language that they understand.
Drug addiction by its very nature is complex, but starting simple and building up to those complexities will make it easier to understand by the time drugs, alcohol and smoking potentially come into a teenagers life.
Support and harm reduction
Finally, there is a tendency to go all-in on drugs being “bad”, “illegal” and can “kill you”, but providing a lack of awareness on how to get support or try to minimise the risks of substance abuse.
Many charities are calling for education platforms to provide information on safe consumption, recognising signs of overdose and how to seek help so if someone does fall into the trap of seeking help, they have been taught the ways out of it too. That will see more people get help, and could potentially save thousands of lives.
Education is undoubtedly needed at present, and a lot of that revolves around supporting the many teenagers and young adults that are either addicted or on that pathway towards it, or we’re going to see many more lives lost before things get better across the country.