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Drug and alcohol educator, Paul Dillon, spoke to our Year 10, 11 and 12 students this week. He believes one-off sessions with teenagers don’t work well.
“Drug education works best when you build up a relationship with teenagers over a few years,” said Mr Dillon.
And, judging by the level of engagement during his presentations and the number of students crowding him for one-on-one chats afterwards, many Wenona girls do trust him.
“He’s a lot of fun and mixes up his style – with humour then suddenly the serious message comes through,” said Anna, Year 12.
“I still remember things from the Year 10 talks,” said Xanthe, also Year 12. “He builds the talks over years with themes and develops them each year.”
Mr Dillon spoke to Year 10 about drinking and practicalities and dangers of looking after a friend who has had more than enough. For Year 11 he adds the inevitably of brushes with drugs; for Year 12 he builds on topics of drinking, drugs and adds driving to the combination.
“My talks are not prevention talks. They’re about how to think and talk and make decisions about drugs,” he said.
The focus is on positives and practicalities. He flips the statistics around to show if students haven’t tried these drugs, they’re in the overwhelming majority for their age; how to recognise a situation; the choices students have and making them; how to recognise when to help and when to call for professional help.
In the 1990s Mr Dillon was the Information Manager at the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre and to radio listeners was known as “the drug guy” on station JJJ’s Friday morning show. Today, his firm, Drug and Alcohol Research and Training Australia offers education, training and research on a wide range of alcohol and other drug issues. See tips for students and parents at here.