Nottingham DrugAware

DrugAware logoThe DrugAware programme was developed in Nottingham, enabling schools in the city to implement a comprehensive approach to drug prevention. The data collected so far suggests real benefits from this approach:

About the programme

The programme has been implemented in both primary and secondary schools, as well as special schools and pupil referral units. To receive the award, schools must demonstrate that they meet a 10-point standard. This covers:

  • Development and implementation of school policies
  • Participation of pupils and parents in planning
  • Gathering data about pupils’ needs and evaluating progress through the D-Vibe online Drug and Alcohol survey
  • A needs-based drug education curriculum including targeted programmes where appropriate
  • Support and early intervention for vulnerable young people
  • Positive, pupil-led health campaigns.

Evaluation findings

Overall findings

  • 98% of sample students showed some improvement in knowledge, skills and/or positive attitudes to drugs, for example for each of tobacco, alcohol and “drugs”, the number of students claiming to be “very” confident in turning them down when offered by somebody they knew increased from a range of 38-39% to 56-59%.
  • Reductions in binge drinking / drunkenness frequency were found following focused programmes.
  • Referrals to Drug and Alcohol Services increased significantly.
  • Return to treatment after one year was 4% at participating schools, compared to the average rate at non-participating schools and youth offending team programmes was 48%. Treatment time was also shorter at 6 weeks compared to 12 weeks.
  • Permanent exclusions for drugs reduced by 50% over 2 years.
  • Reductions in drug-use and frequency/intensity of drug use achieved in all ages and settings

KS3 Learning Centre (for excluded pupils)

Over 2 years implementing DrugAware programme

  • The proportion of young people whose drug and alcohol needs were assessed (NGage Assessment Toolkit) increased from 5% to 98%
  • Referrals increased by over 400%
  • Parental positive involvement in aspects of the drugs programme increased from 10% to 55%
  • Skills and confidence to refuse drugs/alcohol in relevant situations rose from 45% to 75%
  • Knowledge of emergency actions (recovery position) increased from 11% to 58%
  • Prevalence of cannabis use fell from 41% to 37% by the end of Year 9, when it would usually be expected to rise (comparison to baseline data in non-DrugAware learning centre).
  • Referrals exceeded incidents in all learning centres with better early identification

On the evidence reviewed by the CAYT repository, the programme was considered to be of high impact, with the quality of the evaluation scoring three out of six (full report).


The resources to implement the scheme in schools across an area are being sold as a package.

Schools can also buy some of the individual resources used in the programme.