Our principles

Our commitment to the provision of high-quality, evidence-based drug education for young people is contained in the set of ten principles below.

They apply to drug education across a range of settings, including schools and informal community settings, and are based on an international evidence base of effective practice in drug education2.

We believe that high quality drug education should:


Be based on accurate, up to date and relevant information, having appropriate theoretical framework(s) and supported by empirical research;


Be delivered in a series of structured, age-appropriate sessions, over multiple years, and embedded in a holistic, planned approach to young people’s health and wellbeing;


Incorporate elements of several prevention models with multi-component elements, involving parents, carers and the wider community;


Change perceptions of the risks associated with substance use, and challenge misconceptions regarding the normative nature and expectations linked to substance use;


Provide opportunities to practise and learn a range of personal and social skills, and include harm minimisation;


Be delivered by trained, competent and confident educators;


Use interactive approaches that include opportunities for reflection in order to nurture personal values;


Promote student resilience and social connectedness, and encourages strong relationships and communication between students, parents and schools;


Be provided within a learning environment which is safe for the children, young people and adults involved, and which is sensitive to the diversity of lived experiences, including childhood trauma and mental ill health;


Be relevant and meet the needs of children and young people, and actively involve them as participants, advocates and evaluators in developing good quality provision.