Substance Abuse Education for Teachers
Teachers often act as the front line to prevent and help treat substance abuse among high school and college age students. It is important that our teachers are well educated in the treatment options and substance abuse prevention programs that the local, state, and federal government offers. The Foundation for a Drug Free World among other agencies offer a variety of programs available for teachers to learn how to prevent and recognize substance abuse as well as encourage students to seek treatment for their substance abuse problem.
One of the main focuses for teachers is the prevention of substance abuse among teens and college age students. This prevention comes in many forms such as:
- teacher education courses,
- student education packages,
- brief intervention training, and
- classroom presentations.
One of the main prevention techniques is through the “Truth About Drugs: Real People Real Stories” program. This program allows students to see real presentations about drugs and alcohol from people their age. The program is free and gives students a chance to see the devastation that drugs cause.
This program has videos, activities, assignments, and other aids to help teachers send a clear message about drugs to their students. It also contains educational materials on how to talk to students about drug use in a practical nonjudgmental way. This is not the only program. Many teachers attend conferences that go over all aspects of drug abuse among their students.
One of the hardest things for teachers to learn is how to recognize the subtle signs of drug use among their students. This includes recognizing:
- unexplained changes in personality,
- abrupt changes in activities and hobbies,
- changes in motivation and grades,
- moodiness, irritability, and changes in attitude,
- changes in hygiene,
- anxiety, and
- the physical signs of drug use for many of the major drugs.
EPIC and other programs show teachers how to recognize these signs by showing them videos and photos of students who have drug issues. Teacher education does not end in the classroom. There are online programs and classes they can take to find out more about how to recognize drug use and who to report it to.
Encouraging Students to Seek Treatment
Encouraging students to seek treatment is a very tricky thing for educators. If a teacher recognizes the signs of drug use, it is important that they know how to react. The worst thing that can happen is an overreaction. Since many of the signs of drug use are similar to other teenage and early adult problems, it is important for teachers to positively identify drug use before taking action.
It is also important for teachers to keep a positive open dialog about drugs with their students. This is done in hopes that the students will come to the teacher with their drug problem before action is necessary.
If you are an educator and need more information about treatment options or if you feel you need treatment yourself call us at 1-800-895-1695.