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Evidence based approaches to alcohol and drug prevention in schools

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Mentor UK / Mentor International webinar October 2017

This short webinar will introduce participants to evidence based approaches which can be adopted when delivering alcohol and drug education in classroom settings.

Watch the webinar on the final slide, or click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YqcA-cA1MzA

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Evidence based approaches to alcohol and drug prevention in schools

  1. 1. Evidence based approaches to drug prevention with young people Ian Macdonald Mentor UK @Mentortweets | @MentorInt | @IanA_Mac #MentorCPD17
  2. 2. 1. Why evidence based practice? 2. What does the evidence say? 3. Examples of bringing evidence into practice
  3. 3. Why do we need an evidence base? ● Prevention activities are recognised as cost effective - both financially and socially ● Wider social and political factors mean governments need to justify this spend ● But prevention activities are harder to evidence than treatment ● We need to know interventions will ● The specific needs of young people are different to those of adults - therefore applying the same interventions are less likely to have impact ● We therefore need to know what works for young people and why
  4. 4. What does the evidence say? ● What works? (see ADEPIS paper) ○ Providing regular structured sessions ○ Promoting the development of ‘life skills’ ○ Helping young people assess and manage risk ○ Use of interactive teaching methods ○ Focus on immediate consequences rather than long term
  5. 5. What does the evidence say? ● Multi-component, ‘whole school’ approaches are most effective. Some evaluated examples can be found on the CAYT website ○ STAMPP ○ Unplugged ○ Effekt ● Why are they effective? ○ Work with young people and parents
  6. 6. What does the evidence say? ● What doesn’t work? ○ ‘Shock’ tactics - posters, advertising, education ○ Information based approaches without developing any skills ○ Use of sniffer dogs or drug testing ○ One-off sessions delivered on their own ○ Impact of good practice in education is limited if policies and other
  7. 7. Bringing evidence into practice ● Any prevention activity needs to be tailored to meet the specific needs of young people ● Knowing what data sources are out there and how reliable they are is key ● How can need be assessed at these different levels? ● Resources are available to support services at school, local and regional levels: ● EDPQS toolkit ● Mentor-ADEPIS toolkit for schools
  8. 8. Utilising ‘social norms’ ● This is the idea that behaviour can be led by what we may gain from it ● For young people, this can often be about social acceptance and ‘fitting in’ ● (Mis)perceived peer norms can influence ○ unhealthy behaviours ○ poor coping mechanisms for dealing with low mood ● If young people think most of their peers are adopting a certain behaviour then they are more likely to do the same thing
  9. 9. Good practice for parents ● ‘Letting them have a sip’ doesn’t work - the earlier young people try alcohol, the more likely they are to come to alcohol related harm later on ● Starting open and honest conversations helps with setting agreed rules (curfews, parties, friends) ● Remember the internet can have good as well as bad points. Help normalise the good points rather than ban it! ● Try to notice when they might have stress points (especially around school work) and help find positive distractions and coping strategies
  10. 10. “It is better to help people earlier. It makes more sense than having an ambulance at the bottom of a cliff.” Mind and Body programme participant, UK “Better to have a strong fence at the top of the cliff, than an ambulance down in the valley.” Joseph Malins
  11. 11. Evaluation here www.mentoruk.org.uk www.mentor-adepis.org admin@mentoruk.org @Mentortweets @MentorInt