Our children live in a culture that often glorifies drinking, smoking or using other drugs. At the very least, they are surrounded by advertisements and music encouraging them to try alcohol, tobacco or other drugs. In order to offset this negative influence, it is important for schools to educate children about the dangers of adolescent use of alcohol, tobacco or other drugs, not only in the Health classes, but also in the English, Science, Social Science, and Language classes. In a sense to “surround” them with knowledge regarding reasons they should NOT use alcohol, tobacco or other drugs, the same way they are “surrounded” by pro-drug messages in the popular media.
To this end, the Northern California Community of Concern has been developing a 3- prong curriculum, whose purpose is to model research-based effective strategies for a curriculum that can reduce the use of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs by youth aged 12-21. There is a parent education section, a peer education component and an academic piece.
The beliefs guiding the development of the academic curriculum are that:
- drug and alcohol education is more effective when it occurs naturally in the context of subjects such as Arts, Biology, English, Language, PE, Psychology, and Social Science courses; and
- effective drug and alcohol curriculum generates cognitive dissonance in students about their current beliefs and behaviors, thus causing them to want to know more and ultimately change pro- alcohol/drug attitudes and behaviors.
This group of schools has done us all a great service by organizing themselves to produce such a noteworthy contribution. Please look at these curriculums and use them.