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What is the DrugAware Programme?

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Drug Aware is an aspirational standard for schools and their communities, supporting them to address drug and alcohol issues through early intervention. It leads the way in making a real difference. The standard, set out for schools to build on existing work, helps to develop a more effective, evidence-based approach. With the participation of parents and pupils, DrugAware schools will have better, more robust drug and alcohol education, policy and support for vulnerable young people.

Over the last 5 years The DrugAware Programme has gone from strength to strength with national partners now in Southend-On Sea Borough Council and Luton Borough Council, in G4s Children’s Homes, Academies in Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire. We are seeing continuing improvement in the practice of secondary, academies, learning centres special schools and primary schools, celebrating their successes. This means that nearly 50,000 children and young people are getting better drug education with better policy, more confident staff and more effective early intervention processes. This has resulted in changes in behaviour around drugs and alcohol as young people focus on the way substances affect their lives right now and develop protective skills. Staff and governors are more confident to deal with substance related concerns after receiving training, parents are getting involved in schools. Early intervention referrals to drug and alcohol services are making real impact for vulnerable young people. We are delighted with the outcomes we are seeing. As more areas look at finding a robust way to address drug and alcohol issues with young people are looking at the DrugAware Programme, coupled with our new packages to identify the needs of vulnerable young people through the Ngage Suite of Tools we are confident we can build further on our successes with a full roll out this year.

The programme's success has meant that we are now offering DrugAware and the full range of resources for other areas who may wish to duplicate this success via our shop and Amazon

More on early intervention projects in Nottingham City.

Being a 'DrugAware School' means you are safer, smarter and better prepared to address drug and alcohol issues if they arise and are working together to tackle the harm that drugs and alcohol can present.

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Young people

  • Know they are part of a prestigious award, already achieved by over 23,000 children in Nottingham City.
  • Receive effective, ongoing drug and alcohol education throughout their school life. This will be based on their needs and local data. The focus of drug education is on acknowledging their world and real experiences and developing the skills and understanding to keep them safer in situations where they may encounter substances, from to medicines, caffeine or household products to illegal drugs. Ensuring they understand the risks and consequences of drug and alcohol misuse and are confident to resist and prevent the harms that drugs and alcohol can cause is the key to effective early intervention.
  • Where young people are affected by their own or another person's substance misuse, they have access to support, advice and early intervention before issues escalate.
  • Are involved in high-profile campaigns, carrying positive messages about drug-free lives to their school community and beyond.
  • Celebrate their achievements in becoming 'DrugAware'


  • Have in place a well-planned, relevant and modern drug education curriculum to support young people, including those who are most at risk.
  • Intervene early before problems escalate - proactively assessing the needs of vulnerable pupils and ensuring they are referred to specialist services and targeted interventions.
  • Can use 'DrugAware' award towards extending their existing Healthy Schools work to become an 'Enhanced Healthy School'.
More on Healthy Schools

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Parents and Carers

  • Receive specially designed information on drug and alcohol issues, to support and encourage them to talk to their children with more confidence.
  • Participate in the development of the drugs policy so they are involved in, understand and support the early intervention approach.
More on parents and carers

Download the standard (PDF file - right-click 'Save As' to download)