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Demand Reduction - Priority One  (Best Practice – Deny/Delay Uptake!)

We express deep concern at the high price paid by society and by individuals and their families as a result of the world drug problem, and pay special tribute to those who have sacrificed their lives and those who dedicate themselves to addressing and countering the world drug problem…

We commit to safeguarding our future and ensuring that no one affected by the world drug problem is left behind by enhancing our efforts to bridge the gaps in addressing the persistent and emerging trends and challenges through the implementation of balanced, integrated, comprehensive, multidisciplinary and scientific evidence-based responses to the world drug problem, placing the safety, health and well-being of all members of society, in particular our youth and children, at the centre of our efforts… 

UNODC – Commission On Narcotic Drugs – Vienna: 2019 Ministerial Declaration (page 3 & 5)

Families and particularly children, should never, ever be casualties of drug use, by anyone. 

It certainly is a gross injustice and heinous social irresponsibility to have policies that increase demand for, and/or access to, illicit drugs which facilitate the costly harms not easily repaired. 

The mantra that we ‘cannot arrest our way out of the drug problem’ is true. However, we also understand that we most definitely will not be able to ‘treat our way out of the drug problem’ either. 

There must be a health, education and legal approach, working in concert and that focuses on demand reduction, prevention and recovery from drug use. This journey approach that properly harnesses the three pillars of the National Drug Strategy – Demand Reduction – Supply Reduction – Harm Reduction, for the purpose of helping build a resilient culture that doesn’t need or want drugs, will see the healthy, productive and safe culture the United Nations Office of Drugs & Crime, and the World Health Organisation are pursuing.  

#demandreduction

'There is no credible voice in the literature that promotes or defends early uptake of alcohol or other drugs, as there is no safe drug use at all, of any drug, for the developing brain 0-26/32 years of age. And whilst not using any drug is not the only option, it is the best practice option for this vital stage of development of the young. As proactive and protective agents of children’s development we seek to afford and/or provide all children, their parents, care-givers or significant others, with as many best practice delaying/denying uptake mechanisms, vehicles and options as possible – Health Care Professionals and Families Must Focus on Youth Substance Use Prevention.

Individuals, groups and/or organisations that seek to permit, promote or otherwise enable young people to engage with psychotropic toxins at this vulnerable stage are not only denying best health practice, but are also contravening United Nations Conventions and Guidelines.

United Nations Economic and Social Council: Commission on Narcotic Drugs – Fifty-ninth session Vienna, March 2016: Operational recommendations on demand reduction and related measures, including prevention and treatment, as well as other health-related issues (p 5.)

We reiterate our commitment to promote the health, welfare and well-being of all individuals, families, communities and society as a whole, and facilitate healthy lifestyles through effective, comprehensive, scientific evidence-based demand reduction initiatives at all levels, covering, in accordance with national legislation and the three international drug control conventions, prevention, early intervention, treatment, care, recovery, rehabilitation and social reintegration measures, as well as initiatives and measures aimed at minimizing the adverse public health and social consequences of drug abuse, and we recommend the following measures:

Prevention of drug abuse

  1. Take effective and practical primary prevention measures that protect people, in particular children and youth, from drug use initiation by providing them with accurate information about the risks of drug abuse, by promoting skills and opportunities to choose healthy lifestyles and develop supportive parenting and healthy social environments and by ensuring equal access to education and vocational training;
  2. Also take effective and practical measures to prevent progression to severe drug use disorders through appropriately targeted early interventions for people at risk of such progression;
  3. Increase the availability, coverage and quality of scientific evidence-based prevention measures and tools that target relevant age and risk groups in multiple settings, reaching youth in school as well as out of school, among others, through drug abuse prevention programmes and public awareness-raising campaigns, including by using the Internet, social media and other online platforms, develop and implement prevention curricula and early intervention programmes for use in the education system at all levels, as well as in vocational training, including in the workplace, and enhance the capacity of teachers and other relevant professionals to provide or recommend counselling, prevention and care services; (UNGASS – 2016)

University of Queensland drugs expert Jake Najman said information given to students on drugs should not be a “half an hour school lesson”. Professor Najman said governments needed to invest in developing intensive, long-term drug education for students. “It’s a much more systematic problem that needs real commitment and not just a headline saying, ‘Don’t do it’,” he said. 

23 February 2018, Brisbane Times

We couldn’t agree more; that’s why we had developed our ‘all of school’ incursions and curriculum, along with our ‘all of community’ education seminars – including sporting clubs, parents, community leaders and policy makers! Changing the cultural narrative on drug use is a long game, in which the Dalgarno Institute has been a key stakeholder for over 150 years. Our consistent demand reduction and proactive prevention messaging and resources, have been effective in doing just that, when fully engaged by the community.

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AOD Primary Prevention & Demand Reduction Priority Primer: 

TASKING THE NATIONAL HEALTH STRATEGIES FOR COMMUNITY WELL-BEING.

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The Dalgarno Institute has long advocated for an anthropological approach to the cultural ‘symptom’ of substance use. Drug use invariably causes (at the very least) some level of harm to both the drug user (their health and well-being) or that of their family and community. On an ever-growing number of occasions, drug use creates a veritable maelstrom of disturbing outcomes and harms – most of which cannot be ‘reduced’, despite the claims of pro-drug advocates. Prevention (denying and/or delaying substance uptake) is the only best-practice for the developing brain demographic.

This is one of the core reasons why our long standing (but relatively small grass-roots movement) has always sought to look ‘behind’ the noise of drug use and its outcomes to origins, motivators and initiates. Anthropologically sound proactive and protective elements have always been part of our community education mechanisms, very much including the understanding of a consistent culture shaping Journey of resiliency building principles, values and relationships with young people and their immediate socialisation contexts.

Engaging All of community – All of the family – with one focus, one message and one voice of deny and/or delaying uptake. Our perception of reality is constructed socially, and that is done through recency, frequency, proximity and intensity. What the young person is immersed in familial and culturally will shape the development of the emerging citizen. So, it is imperative that what focus, message and voice our young people are exposed to on drug use does not create cognitive dissonance or deliver contradictory messaging and modelling in the public square.  Any confusion in this space only diminishes the protective factors of the message. We do not have such cognitive dissonance around tobacco use on our culture, and subsequently demand for cigarettes has plummeted.  All messaging must enable, equip and empower the emerging generation to have greater capacity to develop their humanity, agency and dignity without the drug use, that only undermines these imperatives.

Iceland too understood much of this, and not only the value of the preventative ‘all of community’ approach, but the need for a disciplined, sustained and uncompromised implementation of strategies be bought to bear. (Again much like our successful ‘war on tobacco’) The outcomes, as we already understand from other historical models of ‘all of community’ shaping mechanisms; works.

The following is a link to the overview of this model, which is based in sound anthropological, not merely sociological principles – including Sustainable worldview, meaning, purpose, values and relationships – All things that keep Humpty Dumpty from and unnecessary fragility and self-sabotaging risks.

https://planetyouth.org/the-core-elements/

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DRUG POLICY – CHANGING THE NARRATIVE:

Building or Demolishing Community Resilience?

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Second updated edition

Prevention strategies based on scientific evidence working with families, schools, and communities can ensure that children and youth, especially the most marginalized and poor, grow and stay healthy and safe into adulthood and old age. For every dollar spent on prevention, at least ten can be saved in future health, social and crime costs

http://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/prevention/prevention-standards.html

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United Nations CND: Prevention Education Priority

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