Websites and Online Resources for Teachers
There are many websites that provide information on alcohol and other drug issues. Unfortunately, many of these originate from organisations that have strong views on the issue and are not particularly balanced.
Some sites are pro-drug and advocate for the legalisation of drugs, whereas others may be extremely conservative and promote a strong abstinence message. As a result, it can be difficult to tell what is good quality, truthful or fact-based information, and what might simply be opinion.
It is important that teachers are able to access accurate and up-to-date information so they can effectively support young people in this area. A list of websites that provide good quality alcohol and other drug information, as well as links to web-based resources that can be incorporated into school-based drug education programs can be found below:
Challenges and Choices: Developed by SDERA, this program for Years 7-9 takes a resilience approach to drug education. One of the most comprehensive resources currently available, each year level includes two components – the Teacher Resource and a student workbook. This has so many great activities and is really nicely presented – well worth a look!
Choices: Alcohol and Other Drugs: A fantastic resource, designed for use in WA schools, but the activities and support materials that are included are really useful. Very much evidence-based on – concentrating on skills development, resistance skills and the like – not simply drug information provision. Highly recommended.
Parent Guides: This not-for profit has produced a number of resources beginning with Drugs 101 in 2015. Schools can purchase these resources as they are, or they can be tailored to suit particular needs. Schools looking for a resource with a difference need look no further …
Positive Choices: An online portal funded by the Australian Government and based at the Matilda Centre at the University of Sydney. This is a fantastic resource for Australian schools and provides accurate, up-to-date evidence-based alcohol and other drug education resources. They have developed their own programs and they also provide expert reviews of other available resources.
Alcohol. Think Again: This web-based campaign/resource comes from WA and provides so much useful information, including statistics around alcohol use and harms. The site is regularly updated and has some really interesting infographics that teachers may find helpful.
Drinkwise: An industry-funded organisation that attracts a great deal of criticism from some in the public health field. That said, this website provides some really useful information for parents about how to talk to their teens when it comes to alcohol, as well as discussing secondary supply laws.
The Lowdown on Alcohol: Developed by Headspace this short video could be used by teachers as a great conversation starter when discussing alcohol. It highlights that even when you’re young you can have problems with your drinking … As with all things Headspace, there’s discussion around mental health as well as ‘talking about problems’ – a great little resource!
Under Construction: Alcohol and the Teenage Brain: This 4-minute video provides age-appropriate information to young people about the effect alcohol has on their brain and is likely to stimulate some great discussion.
Mobile or Roadside Drug Testing (MDT/RDT)
Mobile Drug Testing Educational Video: Most young drivers know little, if anything, about the process of mobile drug testing (MDT), as it is known in NSW, or roadside drug testing (RDT) as it is called in other jurisdictions. This 17-minute video was developed for a NSW audience and provides details of drug driving offences in that state, however, it could be used in schools across the country to provide a basic understanding of the process which is similar wherever you live.
National Cannabis Prevention and Information Centre (NCPIC): NCPIC was de-funded in 2016 and its website made inactive. Many of the Centre’s resources continue to be made available for a limited time on the Cannabis Information and Support site.
Cannabis and the Brain: A short (under 5 mins) video from NCPIC and Turning Point that tries to explain in simple terms what happens to an adolescent brain when cannabis is used. It is an extremely useful resource for teachers but I’m not too sure how many young people would totally understand the concepts discussed – a great springboard for further classroom discussion though.
Australian Drug Foundation (ADF): This organisation has been around for a long time and this site can be a little overwhelming because it contains so much information. Basic facts on a wide range of substances can be found on their Drug Facts page and that can be particularly helpful for teachers who are struggling to keep up-to-date with what is currently around. The search engine on this site works well and if you’re looking for information about something in particular, type it in there and you can pretty well guarantee something will come up …
Family Drug Support (FDS): The FDS is all about supporting families affected by alcohol and other drugs and their site contains some great information specifically designed for that audience. Most probably the most unique sections of the site deal with providing practical advice on how to cope with family members who are experiencing problems with drugs, as well as suggestions on how to set boundaries.
Erowid: A unique website that provides “access to reliable, non-judgmental information about psychoactive plants, chemicals, and related issues.” There really is nothing else like Erowid and if you are working with drug users and they’re discussing about substances you’ve never heard about before – this is the site for you. Over the years they have increasingly tried to ensure that they utilise evidence-based research (where it exists) and not just user reports – as a result, Erowid is a valuable resource.
Other Useful Websites
Headspace: Also known as the National Youth Mental Health Foundation, this site targets young people (12-25) who are going through a tough time and provides health advice, support and information. Anyone working with young people should take the time to take a look at this site and know what is on offer.
Reach Out: This site has a section specifically for schools and promotes a whole-school approach to student wellbeing. They provide a wide range of classroom resources, teaching programs and so much more in this area. They once provided specific AOD information but now appear to focus on other areas such as bullying, resilience and respectful relationships.