School Drug Education

Drug education is taught in primary and secondary schools in NSW as part of Personal Development, Health and Physical Education (PDHPE) programs from Kindergarten to Year 10. 

What is taught in drug education?

Kindergarten children      Kindergarten to Year 6 (Primary School)

In Kindergarten and Years 1 and 2, students have opportunities to learn:

  • about medicines and the need to use them properly under the supervision of an adult
  • that medicines and poisons must be stored out of reach of children
  • how to contact emergency services if there is an accident at home.


In Years 3 to 6, students:

  • learn about legal drugs - how they affect the body and how they can be helpful and harmful
  • examine the effects of tobacco on the body and ways to avoid passive smoking
  • learn about the effects of alcohol on the body
  • discuss both legal and illegal drugs.

 Secondary students       

Years 7 to 10 (Secondary School)

In Years 7 to 10 students have opportunities to consolidate and extend what they have learnt in primary school.
Students learn:

  • about the physical, legal and social consequences of drug use and misuse
  • to analyse influences and reasons why people choose to use or not use drugs
  • to examine the risks associated with drug use and misuse
  • to recognise potentially risky situations and plan ways to reduce harm
  • to analyse the influence of the media, especially strategies aimed at young people
  • to identify support agencies.

Years 11 and 12 (Secondary School)

Crossroads: A Personal Development and Health Education Course for Stage 6 is a mandatory personal development and health education course for Years 11 and 12 students in NSW government schools. The course provides an opportunity for students to extend and build on the outcomes associated with relationships and drug issues achieved in PDHPE from Years 7 to 10.

Crossroads: A Personal Development and Health Education Course

The revised Principles for school drug education are guiding principles for effective school drug education in Australia. They have a strong evidence base and provide an overarching framework to inform policy and practice in school drug education.


The Personal Development, Health and Physical Education (PDHPE) syllabuses outline the drug education knowledge, skills and understanding that are to be taught to all students from Kindergarten to Year 12.


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