Drugs & Alcohol

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 The provision of alcohol and drug education is an essential prerequisite for allowing children and young people to enter adulthood healthy and avoiding harms.  Effective alcohol and drug education however is not only based on information provision. It should build pupils’ resilience and skills around alcohol and drugs.

Good alcohol and drug education develops pupils’ knowledge, skills, attitudes and values to enable them to live safely in our society. It is most effective when combined with programmes that address social norms and other risky behaviours that are common in adolescence, as well as other wider measures, such as a supportive school environment and clear school rules.

The drug strategy 2017 sets out how the government and its partners, at local, national and international levels, will take new action to tackle drug misuse and the harms it causes.


Before planning your alcohol and drug education curriculum, get the facts!

The links below will guide you in answering key questions that will help you develop age and needs appropriate lessons around alcohol and drug education.

The role for schools

Schools can help young people develop specific protective factors by:

  • Helping them develop supportive and safe relationships
  • Insisting on regular school attendance
  • Providing pupils with strategies to cope well with academic and social demands at school
  • Allowing strong and supportive social networks
  • Encouraging good social skills
  • Developing self-knowledge and esteem
  • Building good knowledge of legal and illegal drugs, their effects and their risks
  • Building good knowledge of general health and how to ensure their good mental health

Choosing the best approach to drug education is a key task for educators.  See the Principles of Good Drug Education factsheet for more details.

What else do schools need to do?

Schools can help safeguard pupils from drug and alcohol harms:

  • by drug education that helps equip pupils with the knowledge and skills they need;
  • by clear school rules and effective responses to drug incidents;
  • by supporting pupils at risk of drug-related harm, and those with drug or alcohol misuse in their family; and
  • by raising pupils’ academic achievement and attachment to school – major protective factors

The latest advice from Government is the 2012 Department for Education and ACPO Drug Advice for Schools. Schools are advised that as a minimum, there should be:

  • early access to support for pupils with drug or alcohol issues (or affected by family use);
  • a written drugs policy available to all staff; and
  • a senior member of staff with responsibility for policy and liaising with the local police and support services.

Policy and Guidance 

This guidance is to support schools and educational establishments in developing a drug and alcohol policy. This should enable educational establishments to develop an effective tool which aims to achieve the following:

  • Safeguard Students, Staff and visitors. This should include Health and safety and risk assessments.
  • Ensure Students, Staff and visitors are not committing a criminal offence.
  • Ensure clear and consistent processes can be followed, actioned and recorded.
  • Support students in making healthier lifestyle choices.

Click here to download an example policy for schools & education establishments


Support with needs assessment when planning a programme of drug & alcohol education


Advice on delivering culturally sensitive drug education


Questions for Governors to ask about policy and practice 


Engaging parents in drugs education 

Specific advice for schools on policies regarding volatile substances 

General Lesson Resources


Secondary & Colleges lesson packs


Secondary & Colleges

The lessons in this pack have been developed in partnership with senior teachers with extensive experience of working with young people with social, emotional, behavioural and mental health issues. All of the resources in this pack have been developed in line with PSHE Association guidance, take into account their Ten Principles of good PSHE Education. These resources are suitable for Key Stage 3 and 4. (See below powerpoints)
CCE often occurs without the victim being aware that they are being exploited and involves young people being encouraged, cajoled or threatened to carry out crime for the benefit of others. In return they are offered friendship or peer acceptance, but also cigarettes , drugs (especially cannabis), alcohol or even food and accommodation. See below for lessons to explain what CCE is to students.