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Alcohol and other drugs education program

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The Department of Education, in conjunction with the Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority, has developed the Alcohol and other drugs (AOD) education program. External experts within the alcohol and other drug education field were consulted during the developmental process to provide research and best-practice educational approaches.

The AOD education program uses a harm-minimisation approach to support young Queenslanders to develop a greater awareness and understanding of the impacts of alcohol and other drug use, their capacity to make responsible, safe and informed decisions and their ability to effectively manage challenging situations.

The program is informed by the department's drug education and intervention advice and supports the Learning and Wellbeing Framework (PDF, 534KB).

Alcohol and other drugs as part of Health and wellbeing education

Queensland state schools are required to provide Health and wellbeing education, either as part of the delivery of the Australian Curriculum or as part of the school's pastoral care program. The P-12 curriculum, assessment and reporting framework specifies the curriculum, assessment and reporting requirements for all Queensland state schools.

The AOD Years 7 to 10 education programs are aligned to the Australian Curriculum: Health and Physical Education focus area of Alcohol and other drugs and can be delivered through this learning area or as part of the school's pastoral care program. All may be delivered as part of pastoral care.

Five hours of instruction have been developed for each year level. Specialised resources for schools and teachers include program guidelines, teaching overviews and resources for each year level.

The teaching resources are available online to state schools via the Learning Place and for non-state schools via Scootle.

What will students learn?

The AOD education program is based on the principle of harm minimisation. Research indicates that messages designed to minimise the harm associated with the use of alcohol and other drugs are beneficial. Harm minimisation is a preventative approach to alcohol and other drugs education that encourages non-use, reduces risks associated with use, and promotes healthier, alternative behaviours.

There are three aspects of harm minimisation:

  1. Reducing demand – this includes prevention and delayed onset of the use of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs; the reduction of drug use in the community; and support for people recovering from dependence and reconnecting with the community.
  2. Reducing harm – this involves strategies and actions that primarily reduce the adverse health, social and economic consequences of drug use to community safety, families and individuals.
  3. Reducing supply – this refers to reducing, by all ways possible, the supply of illegal drugs within the community.

The AOD education program is intended to contribute to the first two aspects, while the third aspect will be attended to by other parts of the community.

Fact sheet PDF version (PDF, 137KB), Word version (RTF, 40KB)

Year 7

The Year 7 AOD education program is designed to help young people develop good decision-making skills. Students learn and practise these skills as they explore the following topics:

  • coping with change
  • helping myself and supporting others
  • making choices
  • accessing health information
  • researching health information.

How you can help your children

To support your children as they learn about alcohol and other drugs you may like to:

  • talk about viewing change as an opportunity or a positive challenge
  • encourage coping strategies such as exercise, socialising, seeking help, positive self-talk, distraction from stress, comforting oneself, expressing oneself, taking positive action
  • discuss school and family expectations. For example, outline your expectations for what your children do when they complete their homework and study
  • encourage children to make their own decisions and talk with them about how they came to that decision
  • discuss health facts and healthy living.
Year 8

The Year 8 AOD education program is designed to help young people develop good decision-making skills. Students learn and practise these skills as they explore the following topics:

  • good decision-making
  • understanding community thinking
  • being kind to your body
  • being in control
  • knowing the truth about cannabis.

How you can help your children

To support your children as they learn about alcohol and other drugs you may like to:

  • use accurate information when talking to children about alcohol and other drugs (Note: Using scare tactics or exaggeration can encourage risk seeking in adolescents)
  • explain to children that non-use of alcohol and other drugs is normal for 12-17 year olds (Did you know that in 2013, 71% of 12-17 years olds abstained from alcohol?)
  • discuss ways that personal values help shape good decision-making
  • use reliable information to discuss the effects of alcohol and other drugs and the laws about use and supply.
Year 9

The Year 9 AOD education program is designed to help young people understand and safely respond to the culture of drinking in Australia. Students learn and practise these skills as they explore the following topics:

  • responsible drinking
  • drinking culture
  • considering gender norms and stereotypes
  • exploring alcohol advertising and consumer rights
  • analysing advertising messages.

How you can help your children

To support your children as they learn about alcohol and other drugs you may like to:

  • discuss different drinking cultures and their impact on health – for example, discuss the binge drinking behaviour of some young people and the impact it has on their health
  • discuss media and the stereotypes portrayed – for example, how media portrays young people and their use of alcohol and other drugs; is the portrayal fair and accurate?
  • discuss how to respond when your children feel pressured or uncomfortable with a situation – for example, role play a pressure situation when children can practise the following strategies
    • change the topic
    • joke/use humour
    • distract someone
    • reason with someone
    • make up an excuse
    • suggest an alternative
    • explain why you can't
    • ignore an invitation
    • explain you are into fitness
    • explain you don't want to
    • make an excuse to leave
    • give your opinion/assert yourself
  • discuss the ways companies advertise and sell alcohol
  • know your consumer rights (Alcohol Beverages Advertising Code (ABAC)), talk about them with your children and take positive action to protect your rights.
Year 10

The Year 10 AOD education program is designed to help young people take responsibility for positively influencing, and contributing to, their friends and community. Students learn and practise these skills as they explore the following topics:

  • responsible partying
  • alcohol and drug myths – determining the truth
  • recognising real risks
  • reducing risk through good decision-making
  • responding to harmful situations.

How you can help your children

To support your children as they learn about alcohol and other drugs you may like to:

  • visit the Queensland Police Party Safe website together when planning a party, and plan a safe party
  • talk about alcohol and drug myths particularly if they arise in media. It is important that young people know the truth regarding what is normal for their social group
  • discuss the stages of intoxication and the effects increased intoxication has on the body, particularly the young developing brain
  • support young people to practise their personal values
  • talk with your children about risky and unlawful behaviour and managing harmful situations
  • discuss standard drinks and what it means to drink responsibly (PDF, 246KB)
  • discuss scenarios to enable your children to recognise risk and improve their problem-solving skills
  • practise first aid including the recovery position and CPR to reduce risk.
Year 11

The Year 11 AOD education program is designed to help young people make good decisions and develop skills to ensure their own and other's safety. Students learn and practise these skills as they explore the following topics:

  • investigating drugs, alcohol and violence
  • considering the legal implications of drug and alcohol use
  • having strategies for a safe night out
  • leading by example
  • responsible decision-making to ensure safety of self, peers and others.

How you can help your children

To support your children as they learn about alcohol and other drugs you may like to:

  • discuss what good leadership looks and feels like for young people
  • visit the Queensland Police Party Safe website together when planning a party, and plan a safe party
  • encourage the practice of leadership skills and praise their efforts
  • discuss and be aware of the risks of binge drinking and pre-loading
  • support your children to make healthy decisions
  • work through strategies to ensure your children's safety when out with friends
  • discuss what triggers a violent situation and how your children can identify potential harm and de-escalate aggression
  • discuss scenarios to recognise risk and improve problem-solving skills.
Year 12

The Year 12 AOD education program is designed to help young people adopt some of the responsibility for their own safety when in social situations. Students learn and practise these skills as they explore the following topics:

  • contributing to a safe community
  • being aware in social situations
  • thinking about respect, values and actions
  • promoting positive action for self, peer and community safety
  • celebrating safely.

How you can help your children

To support your children as they learn about alcohol and other drugs you may like to:

  • praise responsible behaviour, the application of values and leadership
  • visit the Queensland Police Party Safe website together when planning a party, and plan a safe party
  • talk about risky and unlawful behaviour and managing harmful situations
  • encourage children to include an emergency contact in their phones
  • discuss what it means to develop respectful relationships, talk about what this looks like, sounds like and feels like
  • discuss what it means to be safe when out at night; and enquire about your children's action plan for safety.
Helpful information

Websites for parents

Alcohol and other drugs information and advice for parents:

National drugs campaign
The Other Talk
Drug info
Kidshelp
Raising children
healthdirect​
SayWhen

Alcohol and other drugs online course for parents

Parenting strategies – an online program to support parents to guide and protect their children from alcohol misuse.

Alcohol and other drugs online intervention services and programs

Counselling online – an online and SMS based counselling service for alcohol and other drug users, their families and friends.
OnTrack – online programs, information and resources to address risky levels of drinking and alcohol and depression.
QuitCoach – an online, personalised program to support smoking cessation.

Alcohol and other drugs services

Alcohol and other drugs information, links to services:
Queensland Government
Queensland Health
Ted Noffs Foundation
Sibling support – alcohol and other drugs support service for siblings.

Alcohol and other drugs research

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare Alcohol and other drug treatment services
Centre for Alcohol Policy Research
Centre on Alcohol Marketing and Youth (US based)
Drug and Alcohol Research and Training Australia
National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre
National Drug Research Institute
National Drug Strategy Australian secondary school students’ use of tobacco, alcohol, and over-the-counter and illicit substances
National Health and Medical Research Council 2014, Australian guidelines to reduce health risks from drinking alcohol


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Last updated 01 May 2019