Showing posts from July, 2015

Alcohol, 'blackouts' and young women

I've raised the issue of alcohol-related sexual assault and young women many times over the years and it is certainly one of the most difficult topics I deal with when I visit schools. To have a Year 10 girl divulge to you that she has been sexually assaulted, whether she was intoxicated at the time or not, is extremely confronting and something you never forget - ever. Some of the young women I have come in contact with have already reported the assaults and simply want to share their stories in the hope that I can warn others about the risks, whilst others have never told anyone and the mandatory reporting process that follows can be very difficult for all concerned ... If there is a positive in this area it's at least we're beginning to have the conversation around violence towards women, sexual or otherwise. Australian of the Year, Rosie Batty is to be commended for using her platform so effectively to get the issue on the political agenda, while long-time advocates lik

Ecstasy-related deaths: How do we successfully debunk some of the myths in this area?

Recently I didn't get enough time to do the usual ecstasy section of my Year 12 presentation at a school I was visiting. I apologized for not being able to cover the information but made it clear that they could come up to me during the break and ask me anything they wished on the topic ... A couple of students took me up on the offer and the resulting discussion blew me away - some of the things these young people believed to be true about ecstasy were frightening, particularly around ecstasy-related deaths! Since then I have made it a point of approaching Year 12s at each of the schools I have visited to ask them some simple questions around the drug to see whether these beliefs were held more widely - unfortunately they were! Of all the drugs I discuss in schools I think ecstasy is the most difficult one to deal with effectively. If you are speaking to a group of young people who have never used the drug and they don't know anyone who has taken it, your job is made a littl

What role, if any, does law enforcement play in school-based drug education?

Last week's blog entry on my thoughts around 'ice education' certainly sparked a great deal of interest and was most probably one of my most shared posts ever ... I also received quite a lot of emails with questions and comments and something that kept coming up was the role of police in the delivery of school-based drug education. So many schools, both here and around the world, use local police officers in the classroom and I was asked my thoughts on whether I believed that this could be useful. I have very strong views on this topic and any teacher who has ever attended a professional development session of mine would know that, put simply, I don't think police officers should ever be used to deliver drug education in schools. Ever! Now before all the police officers who read my blog or follow me on Facebook and the like have a nervous breakdown - I am not saying they shouldn't be working in schools and talking to students - I'm simply saying that they are

Ice education in schools: If we do it, what do we say, when do we say it and who delivers it?

Ice continues to dominate the media - hardly a day goes by without at least one ice-related story hitting the headlines. Without doubt this is a highly problematic drug that is wreaking havoc in communities across the country but as I've said many times before these stories need to be put into a context. Yes, there's a lot of this drug around but most Australians choose not to use it. Although ice use has doubled amongst amphetamine users, available data suggests that prevalence rates are steady across the general population. As always, we are trying to identify simple solutions for complex problems. Last night I was watching the TV news and there were interviews with two different people who, in response to the latest ice story, were calling for ice education to be introduced into schools, with one of them suggesting that this should be delivered in primary school! Now don't get me wrong, I'm all for more drug education - it's my 'bread and butter' - bu