Abstracts

Abstracts for all presentations offered to school communities are available.

Staff Presentations 2021 

School-based young people and alcohol and other drugs: Hot topics 2021

During adolescence, teens develop a biological need to be around friends and research strongly suggests that they should be provided opportunities to socialise with their peers whenever possible. Under COVID-19 ‘social distancing’ restrictions they have been asked to restrict these face-to-face interactions. This presentation will examine how teens have adapted to the restrictions and the impact on their socialising and alcohol and other drug use. There will be a particular focus on the use of e-cigarettes and ‘vaping’, nitrous oxide or ‘nanging’ and cannabis. Finally, it will examine what schools can realistically do in this, or in any ‘social issue’ area and what role the classroom teacher can play in keeping our young people safer.

Drugs and mental health: What do teachers need to know?

Schools are increasingly being asked to deal with more and more social issues and there are staff who may not always feel comfortable dealing with complex problems such as substance use or mental health. When confronted with trying to deal with both it can be overwhelming. This presentation will discuss what we know about the link between alcohol and other drug (AOD) use and mental health. It will examine the most up-to-date data we have on the prevalence of substance use by Australian secondary school students, as well as what we know about their mental health. Information will be provided on the different types of mental illnesses and what effect COVID-19 may have had on students’ mental health and wellbeing. It will take a closer look at the evidence on the impact of alcohol, cannabis and ecstasy/MDMA on mental health and end by answering the question, ‘Where to from here for schools?’

Vaping – ‘short and sweet’: What do teachers need to know?

Vaping (the use of electronic cigarettes, e-cigarettes or ‘vapes’) has become a growing issue for many schools across the country. Vaping is a new phenomenon, with the first e-cigarette being invented in 2003. This session will provide up-to-date and accurate information on the use of e-cigarettes and vaping, as well as examine prevention messages that are most likely to be effective when working with school-based young people. It will also stress the importance of a whole school approach involving clear policies, best practice AOD education and accurate and up-to-date information disseminated across the school community.

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