What to do when you suspect substance use in the classroom

The drug landscape for young people is ever-changing and there is no doubt that it is very different than when we were at school. Sometimes teachers see a different side of children and young people than their parents see. And that side may sometimes show signs that they are using substances in excess, perhaps to the point of having a substance use disorder. For teachers, knowing what signs to look out for and knowing how to respond to this issue in general is often not easy. At the start of a new school year, for those teaching new classes, it is very difficult to gauge what behaviour is typical or atypical for each young person. While this becomes easier when teachers become familiar with each individual’s behaviour and personality, it does not make it any easier to respond to it.

This briefing paper is part of a series produced by Mentor-ADEPIS on alcohol and drug education and prevention, for teachers and practitioners.