Looking to the future: Providing a basis for effective school drug education

Document Type

Book Chapter


Faculty of Education and Arts


Kurongkurl Katitjin / Centre for Research in Entertainment, Arts, Technology, Education and Communications




Midford, R. (2006). Looking to the future: providing a basis for effective school drug education. In: Midford, R., & Munro, G. (eds) Drug education in schools: searching for the silver bullet. IP Communications: Melbourne.


What is the purpose of drug education in schools? Has it ever been successful? Can it succeed when the advertising and marketing of legal drugs for recreation is a vast industry? Are teachers equipped to teach students about the illegal substances that are available in every suburb and town? Drug education is a key element in every national drug strategy, but its potential, compared to the strategies of law enforcement and drug treatment, is poorly understood. This is especially odd when the public and experts alike agree that prevention is a better option than cure. The publication of this book helps to correct the balance, giving drug education due prominence, and providing a realistic perspective and practical guidance for the many teachers and others who are involved in developing or delivering school programs. Drug Education in Schools: Searching for the Silver Bullet is written by an international team of authors with extensive career experience in the drugs field. Outlined are the extent and consistency of drug use within Western society, the chequered history of drug education, and the ideological context in which it works. Research findings from around the world are then brought together to present an up-to-date account of the achievements and limitations of contemporary drug education. Effective approaches, and the circumstances in which they are most likely to succeed, are identified. The issues that confront teachers and schools who tackle the complex task of teaching young people to live in a society that regards drug use as both a curse and a blessing are comprehensively reviewed. The book suggests that drug education is worthwhile when it is based on a practical understanding of young people, drug use, and sound education methods, and is undertaken by skilled school staff, working in a supportive environment.