When it comes to drug and alcohol abuse some educators feel out of their depth. That is understandable – there is a lot of confusing and scary information out there. There are more addictive substances available, legal and illegal, than ever before and every young person is at risk.
This guide is designed to empower you by giving you guidelines for handling situations, lesson plans so you can include drug and alcohol education in your syllabus and the basic facts to assist well-informed, calm and helpful discussion. We can't provide hard and fast rules, as so much depends on the child, their state of mind and their home life, and if they are using drugs what they are taking and in what amounts, but we can give you information and tools.
There are many different drugs. This website will give you the key points about each one. Many young people do experiment with drugs and sometimes if the school finds out they panic because they don't know how to handle the situation. This throws the whole school community into turmoil and often the situation is management by crisis that can be terribly damaging to all concerned.
This manual provides useful information on continuing drug and alcohol education, how to cope with situations that arise and is based on health concerns rather than legal or other issues. No one becomes addicted overnight, it is a process – experimentation, regular use, abuse, addiction. If you have the slightest suspicion that a learner in your school may be using drugs please do not ignore it – use the information in this manual and be part of the solution.
DRUGS - The Reality
Many South Africans, particularly young people, experiment with both legal and illegal drugs. Most people who take drugs are ordinary people who go to school, work and run homes and families.
How educators can help
Why do young people take drugs?
There is no easy answer to that; any number of reasons could include: