by Dakshayani Madangopal
PUNE, JAN 12, 2015: Fifty teachers from eleven Pune-based schools participated in a teacher training programmes entitled "Substance abuse - identification and prevention among school children" at Don Bosco School, Pune on January 9.
Dr Sunitha Shanbhag and Swapnil Pange were the two resource persons who addressed the gathering. The seminar was organised by the Don Bosco Research Centre, Mumbai. The morning session commenced with a brief welcome by Father Bosco D' Mello, Principal of Don Bosco School, Pune and Father Ajoy Fernandes, Director, Don Bosco Research Centre.
Pre-workshop assessment forms were distributed and collected prior to the commencement of the first session by Dr Shanbhag. She touched upon the meaning of addiction, reasons for starting, how drugs affect the brain, factors influencing overall risk, different drugs, impact on health, treatment methods, behavioural and psychological warning signs of drug abuse. Peppered with humour and real life experiences, the session elicited high levels of audience participation.
The post- lunch session by Pange highlighted the warning signs of substance abuse that the teachers needed to look out for and the role of teachers in terms of immediate action and referrals. This activity based session highlighted the role of protective factors such as self-acceptance, supportive family, saying no to drugs, caring relationship, obeying laws and avoidance of delinquent peers.
Pange emphasised on the importance of talking to parents, follow up treatment, family counselling, the role of school principals and counsellors in early intervention and prevention, collaboration with the local police, parents and treatment agencies and helping parents to develop effective parenting skills to deal with the issue. He also stressed upon the role of life-skill training and assertiveness training that would enable children to say "No" to drugs. Before the workshop ended, post-workshop evaluation forms were filled up by the teachers and certificates of participation were distributed.