Canterbury school parents enrol in Drugs 101

Jo Davy Parents, teachers and a panel of experts gathered at Strathcona Baptist Girls Grammar to launch Drugs 101 on Thursday.

Drugs are not generally up for public discussion within the four walls of Melbourne’s prestigious private schools, but it was the only item on the agenda at Strathcona Baptist Girls Grammar in Canterbury recently.

Parents, teachers, and a panel of experts gathered at the school on March 5 to launch Drugs 101, an educational parent guide that speaks frankly about drug and alcohol use among teenagers.

Former The Weekly Review editorial director Eileen Berry produced the resource following her own experience of a relative’s drug use at an early age.

The guide covers the types of drugs teenagers may be exposed to and how they might access them.

It is also designed to encourage open discussion about drugs between teenagers and parents, as well as the school community.

Strathcona is the first school in Australia to incorporate the guide into their parent education program.

Representatives from other local schools also attended the launch, where parents were invited to ask questions of a panel of social workers, police and psychologists.

Shaun O’Brien, Boroondara Council’s school focussed youth service co-ordinator said that alcohol is the most prevalent substance abused by young people in Boroondara, followed by cannabis and ecstasy.

The panel gave advice on what to tell teenagers about their own experimentation with drugs and alcohol and what to do if other parents were supplying alcohol to their own children.

Strathcona principal Marise McConaghy chaired the forum, and said parents’ concerns about drug and alcohol use among their children “seem unspeakable” but it’s a conversation that keeps parents “on the front foot”.

“There is no doubt that raising children has become more challenging,” she said.

“Parents have to keep up to date with information while developing a strong framework that builds build a relationship of trust with their child.”

Ms Berry has plans to release more 101 parent guides covering topics ranging from sex to social media by the end of the year.

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