Parents’ concerns, attitudes, and needs

Parents play a key role in their children’s education and social development and therefore can be influential in educating their children about drugs. Despite this, there has been little research done to date that explores parents’ perceptions. This paper reports research from questionnaires, which sampled 947 parents of 14-to 16-year-olds; telephone inter views of 60 of these responses; and 6 focus groups of primary and secondary school parents. The issues explored included parent’s concerns, needs, and knowledge of drug issues in respect to their children as well as parents’ perspective on drug education. The results show that parents are concerned about drugs in relation to their children, and they report that drugs are easily available to young people and a part of the present youth culture. The study revealed that parents are largely misinformed about the drug situation and request accurate and up-to-date information. They are unaware of their children’s school drug policies and programs and feel the need for easier access to relevant services. Parents rate drug education as important and report that such education should begin during late primary school age. Parents predominantly want their children to be taught the ‘Just Say No’ message. Finally, issues of communication about drugs, between parents and their children, were raised. A number of implications of the results for drug education are presented.

Source: Mallick, J.; Evans, R; Stein, G., Drugs: Education, Prevention and Policy, 5(2):169- 176, 1998. Availability: International Periodical Publishers, Carfax Company, P0. Box 25, Abingdon, Oxfordshire 0X14 EUE, United Kingdom.

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