Government unveils $2.9m drug education package

Three providers have been confirmed to deliver preventative alcohol and drug education in South Australian schools through a $2.9 million State Government funding package over three years.

The funding will be used by Encounter Youth, Life Education SA and The Sammy D Foundation to provide evidence based, health living and substance abuse prevention programs.

This represents a new investment by the Marshall Liberal Government of $2.2 million, with $705,000 for the Sammy D Foundation having been granted in February 2018.

Schools can choose to use any drug education program to complement their curriculum, and non-government schools are also able to access the funded programs.

High schools will also be able to access the SAPOL-delivered comprehensive alcohol and drug prevention sessions.

Education Minister John Gardner said the package was a significant investment into preventing the scourge of drugs in schools.

“The Marshall Liberal Government is very serious about deterring young people from having any involvement in illegal drugs, and this investment is an important step in achieving that,” said Minister Gardner.

“We know that illicit substances can interrupt learning, impair development and result in social, emotional, financial and health problems that continue into adulthood.

“Partnering with Encounter Youth and Life Education SA, as well as the Sammy D Foundation, enhances the existing curriculum and gives schools a range of specialist education programs from which to choose depending on their local circumstances.

“Such programs are already operating effectively through the efforts of these organisations and local community groups in a number of schools.

“The Government’s new investment, in line with our election commitment, enables these NGOs to build their capacity as well ensuring that the important programs can be made available to all schools in South Australia.”

Encounter Youth Acting Chief Executive Officer Jess Morris said this investment into preventative education will make a real difference to young peoples’ lives and the broader South Australian community. 

“Today’s announcement has helped remove the financial barrier that some schools face to take a best practice approach to drug education,” said Ms Morris.

“Our program is heavily research-based, and this funding has enabled us to use our expertise to launch follow-up lesson resources to reinforce and remind students what they’ve learnt.  

“As a leading provider of drug education in secondary schools, we look forward to equipping more young people with practical strategies to look after themselves and their mates as they celebrate.”

Assistant Principal of Glenunga International High School Amanda Walsh said the program would enrich the school’s curriculum.

“Our mission at Glenunga International is to develop students’ potential as internationally minded, creative thinking, responsible citizens,” said Ms Walsh.

“A big part of that is supporting students to make good decisions as they discover who they are as adolescents and who they wish to become as adults.

“Programs like Encounter Youth Education enrich our core curriculum and help us to create well-rounded individuals with a clear understanding of the risks that are out there.”