Written by Hannah Dawes – Head of Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) education at King Edward’s School, Bath, UK
Last year, The Exchange launched a series of free resources that were designed and disseminated with the help of Drug Science. This followed a successful web series on The Science of Drugs, where I interviewed David Nutt, together with Drug Science team members Rayyan Zafar and Anya Aggarwal. The resources have since been used by schools across the UK to help inform an evidence-based discussion around substances.
I am really excited to be working with Drug Science again to create a series of three lessons on ‘The Science of Nicotine’. As a Head of PSHE, I am only too aware of the shortage of evidence-based resources when it comes to tricky subjects. Tobacco was brought to Europe from the Americas five centuries ago. It is now considered the world’s single biggest cause of preventable death, yet many schools are not equipped with evidence-based resources to teach about this drug effectively.
The current situation in many UK schools is that knowledge around the dangers of smoking cigarettes is good but that knowledge around alternative nicotine products like vapes is limited at best. Meanwhile, young people are becoming increasingly susceptible to using these products while teachers, for the most part, are not sufficiently equipped to speak confidently to students about them. The result is an overabundance of scaremongering assemblies filled with misleading anecdotes and misinformation.
The resources we are creating will use current research to provide children with the knowledge they need to make informed choices about nicotine. Drug Science’s network of experts provides an unparalleled resource for us, and their extensive experience of communicating these issues is invaluable. The collaboration between ‘The Exchange‘ and Drug Science is incredibly exciting and we hope to release these resources in early June 2023.
Please find resources co-created by The Exchange and Drug Science here.