Tamworth school students first in the nation to receive drug and alcohol program
Year 6 students from Tamworth Public School were today among the first in the nation to take part in Life Education’s Decisions module, which includes information about legal as well as illegal drugs, with a focus on decision making and personal choices in risk situations.
While Life Education’s program – which has been running in Australian schools for 36 years – has always discussed legal drugs such as tobacco, alcohol and caffeine, this is the first time it has covered content in relation to illegal drugs in its primary school program.
Life Education NSW CEO, Kellie Sloane said that as the dangers of drugs such as ice become more apparent in the community, it’s up to us to arm our children with as much information as possible about the dangers and effects of harmful behaviours.
“Children today are faced with many challenges. Statistics show that more than 70 per cent of 12-17 year olds in the New England Local Health District, which includes Tamworth, have consumed alcohol.1 Illicit drug use is also a concern, especially in regional NSW. Ice use is on the rise in rural NSW, with Australians living in rural locations more likely to have used meth/amphetamine compared to Australians living in major cities.2
“We want to make sure that students really understand the facts so they can make informed decisions. The new module supports 10-14 year-olds to develop an understanding of the impact of alcohol and other drug use; build their capacity to make responsible, safe and informed decisions, and develop their ability to manage challenging situations effectively.”
Member for Tamworth Kevin Anderson said this new module from Life Education fits in with the work being done by the local Ice Action Group and it’s fitting that the launch was in Tamworth.
“The key focuses for the Ice Action Group continue to be around education, rehabilitation and support which is why we want to see this educational tool in more schools so that we can better inform our young people.
“The work being done by the local Ice Action Group is not going unnoticed around the state and I thank Life Education for recognising our region as a strong force in the fight against Ice and other illegal drugs.”
Tamworth Public School Deputy Principal, Barry Everingham said the Life Education program has been adopted widely by many schools for years, and is a useful supplement to our own syllabus work.
“While our school focus is on legal drugs – which cause the most harm – children will often bring up illicit or illegal drugs in conversation.
“Life Education educators and teachers in the school deal with such discussions sensitively and factually. Students are taught the skills necessary to make safe decisions if they find themselves in risk-taking situations. They are advised to discuss such matters with family and other trusted adults.”
Life Education NSW works with more than 60 per cent of local schools and sees around 3,000 children across the Tamworth local government area.
Decisions is a curriculum-linked flexible module, offering schools a choice of content for its students; either on legal drugs, or on drugs that are legal and illegal.
The new module will facilitate a discussion around drugs such as medicines, including analgesics, caffeine, tobacco and alcohol, as well as cannabis and amphetamines. It will explore the decision making process and improve decision making skills by looking at choices, consequences, responsibility, facts, information, and influences.
This education will be factual, preventive in nature, and age appropriate, reflecting best practice in the delivery of school drug education.
The outcome of the Ice Taskforce saw the Federal Government commit to spending more than $300 million implementing a new strategy aimed at tackling ice addiction. This strategy included a focus on prevention and education. Life Education has been supporting schools for over 36 years with their preventative health and drug education program and received Ice Taskforce funding to develop this new module for upper primary students.