Engaging parents in drug education

​A significant body of research indicates that when parents participate in their children’s education, the result is an increase in student achievement and an improvement of students’ attitudes. Productive partnerships between schools, family and the community also provide a strong network of connections that can help protect young people against a range of harms including those associated with drugs, emotional distress and problem behaviours.

This page provides information and strategies designed to support schools and teachers in the engagement of parents in the drug education activities taking place in their school. Creating Conversations, Talking Tactics Together and the Parent Partnerships – Later Years of Schooling resources outline a number of strategies to enhance partnerships with parents.​

Talking Tactics Together (for primary schools)

Talking Tactics Together (PDF - 3 (pdf - 3.53mb) - an interactive family drug education program where parents and their primary school children participate together in a range of drug education activities. This resource provides a range of tools and resources to help the school community plan and run events in which parents and children learn about drug related issues together.

Creating Conversations (for secondary schools)

Image of Resource Celebrate Conversations

Creating Conversations (PDF - 3 (pdf - 3.58mb) - a school-based program that involves students in facilitating discussion sessions with parents about drug related issues. This manual is intended to support school communities plan these events.

The student activity section of the Creating Conversations manual has been translated into seven languages to assist and support students from culturally diverse backgrounds and their school community, plan and run Creating Conversation sessions for their parents.

Creating Conversations Final Report (Word - 384Kb) (doc - 394kb) - a summary of the key findings of the formative evaluation conducted in 2003.

Image of resource Celebrate Conversations Case Studies

Creating Conversations - Case studies of good practice (PDF - 534Kb) (pdf - 534kb) - case studies describing Creating Conversations sessions held in eleven schools across Victoria. Included are accounts of the successful planning processes, the events, benefits, outcomes and key findings from these student facilitated discussion sessions.

Preparatory documents for parent events

(Primary and secondary schools)

Three sample documents designed to support the preparation and planning processes for the parent events. Included are; a sample survey developed to collect comment from parents to uncover the preferred discussion points for the sessions; and two sample invitations (formal and informal) to be sent to parents inviting participation in the evening event.

Parent Survey 1 (Word - 29Kb) (doc - 44.5kb) - can be provided to parents prior to the event to establish the key concerns and issues for discussion at the event.

Parent Invitation - 1 (Word - 23Kb) (doc - 38.5kb) - a sample invitation for parents to attend school events about drug issues and young people (formal letter version).

Parent Invitation - 2 (Word - 22Kb) (doc - 37.5kb) - a sample invitation for parents to attend school events about drug issues and young people (informal version).

Parent Partnerships

Image of resource Parent involvement in drug education

Guidelines are available to assist schools to engage parents in school drug education activities.

Parent Involvement in Drug Education: Guidelines for Schools (PDF - 334Kb) (pdf - 333.63kb) - developed to assist with effective parent involvement in drug education. The brochure also includes strategies for schools for involving parents and building connections with local community agencies.

Parent Involvement in Drug Education: Guidelines for Schools - Further Information about the Guidelines (PDF - 765Kb) (pdf - 764.6kb) - the seven guidelines provide a framework for involving parents in school drug education programs. School drug education should use a range of strategies that involve a broad cross-section of parents, recognise the diversity of parent communities, and aim to be responsive to student needs.

The Parent Partnerships resource includes the following three documents:

Image of resource Parent Partnerships - later years

Parent Partnerships - Parent Involvement in Later Years of Schooling (PDF - 2 (pdf - 2.22mb) - provides practical advice and tools to assess and enhance current school practice of involving parents.

Image of resource Parent Partnerships - professional development module

Parent Partnerships – Professional Development Module (PDF - 2 (pdf - 2.31mb) - explains the components of the Parent Partnerships – Parent Involvement in the Later Years of Schooling resource. The activities have been designed to be easily replicated in working with parents.

Image of resource Parent Partnerships - powerpoint presentation

Parent Partnerships – Professional Development Module - Power Point Presentation (PDF - 727Kb) (pdf - 726.75kb) - presentation overheads supporting the Parent Partnerships Professional Development Module.

Case studies

Image of resource CALD Family Engagement with Schools

Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) Family Engagement with Schools Project - Case Studies (PDF - 1 (pdf - 1.73mb) - provides a summary of 15 case studies of innovative approaches to engage students and parents from varying cultural backgrounds in drug education and student wellbeing.

Drug information for parents

Image of Resource Young People, Parents and Drugs

Young People, Parents and Drugs - Some Commonly Asked Questions (PDF - 517Kb) (pdf - 516.86kb) - brochure providing drug information and tips for parents for talking to their children about drugs.

Parenting strategies: Preventing Alcohol Misuse - Provides a range of appropriate parenting strategies supported by high quality research endorsement from experts in the field of parenting and adolescent alcohol misuse. The online survey and feedback report  will provide useful information for parents of adolescents aged 12 to 17 years. The web-based intervention is designed to help parents implement these strategies and improve their skills in managing alcohol use in their children. This research project is funded by VicHealth and the University of Melbourne.

Image of resource What parents should know about ice

What parents should know about Ice (PDF - 228Kb) (PDF - 228Kb) (pdf - 227.93kb) brochure distributed to parents of year 10, 11 and 12 students in Victoria. It outlines factual information about the drug, Ice (crystal methamphetamine) and some general advice for talking to students about drugs.

The latest Australian Secondary Students’ Alcohol and Drug Survey indicates there has been little change in amphetamine use among students between 1996 and 2005. However, the Department remains committed to providing key materials in relation to the risks associated with all drugs and to assist schools with their ongoing drug education activities.


Image of resource Celebrate Safely - Parent Brochure

Celebrating Safely - Parent Brochure (PDF - 989Kb) - highlights issues to consider when holding a teenage party, the importance of communication between parents and young people and on being a role model for teenagers.

For the related student and classroom materials, see: Alcohol Related Resources

Image of resource Drug information for parents

Drug Information for Parents (PDF - 3 (pdf - 3.08mb) - provides accurate information for parents about the most commonly used drugs. Schools often distribute this brochure at drug information sessions for parents.

Alcohol fact sheets

The following eight fact sheets provide evidence based advice for parents about the risks associated with alcohol use by young people and tips for talking to young people about alcohol.

8 Alcohol fact sheets