New study: Ethical and effective drug education

A new study led by DruGS team member ARC DECRA Research Fellow Dr Adrian Farrugia has begun, investigating young people’s experiences of drug education and how they relate to the priorities of key drug education stakeholders. Entitled ‘Addressing gender and sexuality in drug education: Developing effective and ethical drug education’, the project is funded by Adrian’s Australian Research Council DECRA fellowship.

While the necessity of drug education is commonly accepted, the merits of its prevention or harm reduction goals and effective forms of delivery remain under debate. Despite these debates, policymakers and researchers position classroom-based programs as self-evidently beneficial, central to efforts to reduce alcohol and other drug-related harm among young people. By collecting and analysing in-depth qualitative interviews with young people, this project will produce urgently needed detailed understandings of experiences of and meanings given to drug education by its key subjects: young people, and will also undertake interviews with drug education stakeholders. A key innovation of this project is to make the field of drug education itself the focus of analysis. By analysing the data collected in interviews with stakeholders with data from interviews with young people, this project will generate new knowledge on whether and in what ways young people’s concerns about drug use align with the concerns of the developers of drug education curricula.

As Adrian explains:

Drug education can be an important strategy for reducing harm experienced by young people. However, we know very little about how young people engage with and make use of drug education messages. The goal of this project is to understand how young people’s concerns relate to those of drug education stakeholders and use this analysis to generate more effective and ethical initiatives.

Project activities

The project began with the formation of an advisory panel and development of interview materials.

Recruitment of drug education stakeholders has begun.

Chief investigator

  • Dr Adrian Farrugia, Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society, La Trobe University