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Substance misuse education in the curriculum

The Scottish Government wants children and young people to develop the knowledge and understanding, the skills and the abilities to grow and fulfill their potential - to be able to take care of their mental, emotional, social and physical wellbeing both now and in the future.

We are taking forward substance misuse education work in our schools through Curriculum for Excellence. This covers controlled drugs, safe use of medicines, alcohol, tobacco and solvents. Children and young people will explore the impact risk taking behaviour has on life choices and health. Giving clear information on the risks helps young people to make healthy choices.

All learning is appropriate to the age and stage of the child or young person.   In the latter stages of education, learners will be able to:

  • understand the impact that ongoing misuse of tobacco, alcohol and drugs can have on a person’s health, future life choices and options.
  • identify safe and unsafe behaviours and actions.
  • know that alcohol and drugs can affect people’s ability to make decisions.

Schools, families and the media influence the ways children and young people learn about and behave towards alcohol.  Substance misuse education is an integral part of the new school curriculum with children and young people learning and developing their understanding of the impact of risk-taking behaviour, including the excessive use of alcohol, on their life choices.  The aim is to help children and young people make informed personal choices which will help them lead healthy lifestyles now and in the future. This needs to be enforced by parents, youth organizations and the media.

Useful Information

Useful information

Scottish Schools Adolescent lifestyle and Substance use Survey (SALSUS) National report (2010)




Choices for LifeChoices for Life raises awareness of the risks and dangers of substance misuse including smoking, alcohol and drugs. It aims to provide young people with credible information which enables them to make positive life choices and informed personal decisions about the risks and dangers of substance use and misuse. There is also useful sections for parents, carers, teachers and youth workers.

 Know the Score

The Know the Score campaign gives information about drugs to children and young people, parents and professionals.