Primary school drug education: an evaluation of life education Victoria

Life Education Victoria (LEV) provides a drug education program to primary school-children. Educators, operating from mobile units, visit schools and deliver high quality audiovisual/discussion presentations to students. The program has been designed in seven modules, one for each year level of primary school, and it is intended students will experience all seven modules as they progress through the school. The LEV recommends that schools conduct follow-up classroom activities using workbooks provided by the LEV. Although the program cost is partly paid for by the government and the community, the cost per child per visit is $5. The aim of the LEV-program is to reduce the incidence and prevalence of drug use and misuse. Specifically, the LEV aims to delay student experimentation with or initiation into smoking, it discourages under age drinking and encourages students to avoid drinking during the adolescent years, and it advocates that students avoid analgesics unless for legitimate health reasons. This evaluation combined an examination of the LEV's curriculum with an assessment of its impact on schools' curricula and an outcome evaluation of the short-term effects on schoolchildren. The long-term effects were not addressed in this study. Consequently, while the study provides important information about the LEV-program, it would be premature to conclude from this report that the program is or is not effective in affecting drug use in the longer term.