Drug misuse in Northern Ireland, like many parts of the world, is becoming one of the major issues facing society today. A first stage to addressing this problem is effective drugs education and prevention strategies to school-aged young people. A survey of a range of education providers including mainstream and special needs schools, and school exclusion projects, suggests that all education providers aim to provide drugs education. Within mainstream schools, drugs education and prevention for young people with special education needs is provided within an existing framework developed for all school children. In contrast, special education providers deliver this facility through an approach developed to meet the specific requirements of their client group. The findings suggest that whilst expertise in the delivery of drugs education and prevention strategies exist for young people with special education needs, it may not be specifically targeted at all of them whilst attending school.
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