What kids should know about drugs and alcohol: State education officials propose new standards

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The Department of Education is proposing what appears to be more expansive guidance on drugs and alcohol instruction for middle and high schoolers.

A draft of the proposals are posted as a part of a broader review of learning standards that include civics education and the Holocaust. The substance abuse standards may be discussed Thursday during a final “listening tour” in  Baker County School District in northeast Florida.

That tour will be at 6 p.m. at Macclenny Elementary School, 1 Wild Kitten Dr., Macclenny, FL.

The proposed standards start substance education in middle school and continue through high school.

Both middle and high school standards have five overarching themes, each with at least two expectations on what a student should learn under these categories.

/“Health promotion and disease prevention concepts” cover health risks associated with substances such as alcohol, marijuana, and nicotine products.

/“Internal and external influences” discuss how culture, media exposure, and laws influence substance use.

/“Access to valid information, products and services” identify resources related to substance use and misuse and discuss resources for how to wane off of an addictive substance.

/“Communication skills and resilient behaviors to reduce health risks” discuss how to respond to social pressures regarding drug use.

/”Advocacy for personal, family and community health” offer ways to encourage others to avoid drug and alcohol use.

The middle school standards have goals to “identify,” “discuss,” and “describe” different substances and their effects. High school students would be expected to “analyze” and “examine” similar topics.

For example, middle schoolers may be expected to “describe how to support family and friends who are trying to stop using tobacco and/or nicotine.” Whereas, high schoolers would be expected to “propose strategies for supporting family and friends who are trying to stop using tobacco and/or nicotine.”

Middle schoolers may also “discuss the dangers of underage consumption of alcohol and the benefits of abstaining from drinking alcohol,” while high schoolers “analyze the legal, emotional and social consequences of underage consumption of alcohol.”

The earlier listening tours have raised concerns about sparse attendance and lack of audio and video, as well as adequate time for educators and famlies to review the proposed standards.

Floridians can submit comments through an online survey for each the subjects related to the standards review.