Stop the Scourge in Schools

If elected in March 2018, a Marshall Liberal Government will take a pro-active approach to education about healthy living and substance abuse and we will also enable schools and police to engage more easily to react to acute problems in particular communities.

The Problem

The use of illicit drugs by young people in South Australia is a real concern for our whole community.

Drugs such as Ice destroy potential, damage families, and waste lives.

We must ensure that we make every effort to stop the scourge of drugs – including by taking preventative actions in our schools.

The high rate of cannabis use is concerning, but even more troubling is that methamphetamine use (including high purity Ice) is higher in Australia than in almost any other country, with the number of users continuing to grow.

More must be done to address this issue and, as outlined in the Final Report of the National Ice Taskforce, we must take steps to prevent people using in the first place.

This includes, minimising harm to children and their peers by ensuring school students know that bringing drugs onto school property will not be tolerated under any circumstances and giving schools the support they need to enforce this.

Additionally, there is a need to more widely deliver education programs providing preventative messages about substance abuse.

By delivering this sort of information in our schools, we can ensure that our children are better equipped to make safe choices when they face pressure to try illicit substances.

The State Liberals' Plan

If elected in March 2018, a Marshall Liberal Government will take a pro-active approach to education about healthy living and substance abuse and we will also enable schools and police to engage more easily to react to acute problems in particular communities.

We will ensure that effective, evidence-based healthy living and substance abuse prevention programs are made available to all school children.

Such programs are already operating effectively through the efforts of non-government organisations and local community groups in a number of schools: we will ensure that they are made available to all schools in South Australia.

Research has shown that a positive relationship with school, which creates a greater sense of community, attachment, and performance, is associated with reduced potential for drug abuse.

The National Ice Taskforce also found that states and territories are best placed to facilitate schoolbased drug education activities, ensuring they are robust and delivered according to the needs of each school and community.

That is why a Marshall Liberal Government will work with non-government organisations to ensure that students across South Australia, especially those identified as being particularly at risk, have the opportunity to participate in these programs while in school.

Preventative measures are important but we know that there must also be the capacity to react to issues that arise in particular areas.

That’s why a Liberal Government will also ensure that SAPOL becomes more engaged in delivering anti-drug messages at schools – particularly in schools where there may be a larger cohort of students vulnerable to illicit drug dealers.

This will include enabling police sniffer dogs to be used as an effective tool in the fight against drugs in our schools.

We will work with SAPOL, the Department of Education, Independent and Catholic school sectors to develop effective protocols to enable schools to more easily access the use of police dogs in schools, as part of the broader police engagement strategy in our schools.

Sniffer dogs will be able to be used on campus at the request of the school leadership, or at the direction of SAPOL.

This will be an effective tool to reduce drug use and ensure that our young people are kept safe from drug proliferation.

Winning the war on drugs requires the conviction that this is a fight worth winning – a conviction that a Marshall Liberal Government will maintain.

There needs to be a holistic approach that prioritises prevention and early intervention, and that is why we are committed to starting the conversation with students in our schools.