In partnership with other agencies, the Health Unit annually hosts anti-drug education events in communities throughout Simcoe and Muskoka. The biggest of these are for Grade Five students called RACE Against Drugs. RACE is a multi-day project students are given fast and engaging anti-drug, anti-alcohol and anti-tobacco messaging.
People often ask:
‘Why Grade Fives? Isn’t that young?’
The reason is because 10 or 11 years old is the last window where abstinence is a meaningful message. Any older, and the education has to be more sophisticated. By 14 or 15 years old, the focus must become harm reduction, delayed onset, or responsible use.
From an education standpoint, you can tell a 10-year old: ‘don’t do it, it’s bad for you’. And the odds are, for a while, they listen. For a 40-year old that drinks three bottles of wine a week, but has so many good reasons to reduce consumption, what then?