Teachers' perspectives on their role in school-based alcohol and cannabis prevention

Marie Claire Van Hout, Michelle Foley, Aoife McCormack, Eric Tardif

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Schools are an important setting for the implementation of health education- prevention initiatives. Teachers are valuable partners in the delivery of health and social material, including that relating to alcohol and drugs. However, school-based substance education-prevention often exists in competition with academic agendas. The research aimed to investigate teacher's perspectives in Ireland on their role and that of the school in the delivery of school-based alcohol and cannabis education- prevention. Irish school-based drug education-prevention is currently provided within the remit of the Social Personal Health Education (SPHE) module, which is a compulsory element of the curriculum within secondary schools. Thirteen second-level schools partook in the research. A teacher questionnaire collected information around teacher's experiences of student alcohol and cannabis use, attitudes toward teacher and school prevention roles, and levels of school satisfaction (n = 131). The results indicated that teacher's experiences of effects of student alcohol and cannabis use in school were rare. Over half of teachers had never partaken in education-prevention activities, with those delivering SPHE teachers more likely to partake and report a positive attitude toward school-based alcohol and cannabis education-prevention. Teacher levels of satisfaction with their school were positively correlated with attitude toward the teacher and school's role in alcohol and cannabis education-prevention. High awareness of school drug and alcohol policies was recorded, along with the need for training, support, and information for all teachers. The findings underscore the need for 'whole school' integrated approaches involving a shared organization-wide approach to student substance education-prevention.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)328-341
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Health Promotion and Education
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2012


  • Alcohol
  • Cannabis
  • Drugs
  • School
  • Substances
  • Teachers


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