x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Abu Dhabi teachers plug in to anti-drugs message

The initiative, called Unplugged, has been brought in at six Emirates National Schools and it is hoped it will be introduced to others across the UAE.

Communication Officer with the National Rehabilitation Centre Shaima Al Jabry, right, trains physical education teachers how to teach children about the dangers of drugs, smoking and alcohol. Christopher Pike / The National
Communication Officer with the National Rehabilitation Centre Shaima Al Jabry, right, trains physical education teachers how to teach children about the dangers of drugs, smoking and alcohol. Christopher Pike / The National

ABU DHABI // A programme that teaches schoolchildren about the hazards of smoking and taking drugs has been well received by pupils, parents and teachers.

The initiative, called Unplugged, has been brought in at six Emirates National Schools and it is hoped it will be introduced to more.

Developed by the National Rehabilitation Centre (NRC) and Abu Dhabi Education Council, the curriculum is based on the European Union Drug Abuse Prevention Programme.

Shaima Al Jabry, communication officer at the NRC, said it was easy to adapt it to suit the local culture.

“The objective is prevention, to get them to know about the risk of drugs and alcohol and being an addict, and teaching them life skills – how to solve problems, how to set goals and to fit in a community.”

Miss Al Jabry said NRC has treated adolescents for drugs and alcohol problems, especially substance abuse. The educational programme is aimed at 12 to 14-year-olds and comprises 12 lessons.

Three additional sessions are for parents, that will cover topics such as how to build a respectful relationship with their children.

So far, it has been implemented at schools in Abu Dhabi, Al Ain and Mohammed bin Zayed City.

Jessica Fourie, 27, a physical education teacher, was among those taking part in a refresher course in the capital yesterday.

She said the programme helps teach children about the negative consequences of behaviour they hear about through social media.

“All these celebrities are talking about alcohol and getting drunk on the weekend and it’s against what they believe,” she said.

ecleland@thenational.ae