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Drug education

Special Needs and Drug Education. By Richard Ives. Nasen and David Fulton. pound;12

There is a dearth of good guidance on how to help pupils with special educational needs in relation to drugs issues. Much of the general guidance from the Department for Education and Skills (Drugs: Guidance for schools, February 2004 is at www.teachernet.gov.ukwholeschoolbehaviourdrugs) is helpful, but this 42-page booklet will be welcomed by teachers anxious to do their best for special needs pupils.

Richard Ives highlights a need to ensure pupils understand how and why non-medical drugs are different to familiar medication, and focuses on the need for a well-managed policy on handling drugs at school.

Teaching guidance covers the content of drug education (though there is little mention of classroom methods) and a set of possible curriculum models, but it doesn't provide concrete examples of teaching materials.

Instead, readers are referred to an appendix of relevant sources.

However, the book does extend beyond its title to include advice about policy development and the management of drugs and drug incidents at school. A sensible addition is the section detailing the most common drugs, among which are Ritalin, solvents, alcohol, tobacco and the minor tranquillisers (benzodiazepines). References to quite old documentation abound, although the advice is nonetheless sound. This is an accessible and useful document.

Adrian King

Drug education consultant

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