Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development, October 11, 2013
The education system and its many partners are committed to providing consistent substance use/abuse prevention education to students and supporting an effective continuum of services to youth and families who are dealing with these issues.
Students are educated about substance use/abuse through the mandatory grade 1-9 Health curriculum, which focuses on wellness, relationship, and life-learning choices. Learning outcomes are supported by a variety of activities including small group work and peer to peer discussions, where age appropriate. Building on the Health curriculum, a new Grade 10 physical education/wellness course is being piloted this fall. The new curriculum will help develop confident and competent students who understand, appreciate, and are engaged in a balanced, healthy, and active lifestyle — including choices related to substance use and other risk taking behaviours.
Student tobacco, alcohol, and drug use data has been collected on PEI since the 1990's, through the Youth Smoking Sun/ey (YSS). Since 2008, the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, the Department of Health and Wellness, and the University of Prince Edward Island have collaborated to implement the YSS within the School Health Action Planning and Evaluation System (SHAPES). Collectively, SHAPES/YSS gathers health behaviour data from approximately 10,000 grade 5-12 students related to healthy eating, active living, tobacco/alcohol/drug use, bullying, and positive mental health. Results of the biennial surveys are provided through student health profile reports to all participating schools, school boards, and at the provincial level as well.
The Department of Health and Wellness is currently creating a provincial student drug use report based on historical YSS data (2004~2011), to be released this fall, which will be update on a biennial basis as new SHAPES/VSS data is collected. A variety of alcohol, tobacco and drug education, prevention, and treatment services are currently offered within Island schools in partnership with Mental Health and Addictions staff, as well as other partner organizations. This includes school presentations, one-to-one client work (youth and parents), presentations to parents groups, referrals to treatment programs, and building relationships with school youth workers, guidance counsellors, and school administrators to
support youth and families in need. This year, a new program called “Coping and Support Training”
(CAST) is available to all junior and senior high schools through the youth addiction counselors. CAST reduces risk factors and increases protective factors within at risk youth. Its approach is to address the issues that lead to suicide ideation in youth - mood (depression, anxiety), substance abuse, and school performance.
Minister of Environment, Labour and Justice, June 11, 2013
The issue of substance abuse among our young people is of great concern both to me personally, and to our government, We recognize that both parents and educators alike are rightly concerned with the proliferation of prescription pill and other substance abuse issues. This is a matter to which our government is committed to taking strong action. Members of my staff are currently in discussions with officials from the Departments of Education and Early Childhood Development and Health and Wellness in order to address the concerns. We are hearing from engaged groups such as yours. We are also participating in the Provincial Prescription Drug Committee, which is led by the RCMP and has membership from many different sectors, with a mandate to examine the issue of prescription pill abuse and its varying impacts on our communities. It is our hope that by sharing information and working across government departments we will be better able to address this growing concern.
English Language School Board
The English Language School Board shares PEIHSF's concern regarding the number of youth who use/abuse alcohol and drugs. The Board welcomes any appropriate programs, training, and additional resources that the provincial Department of Education may make available to the school district to assist schools in promoting healthy living.