LLADAT for Parents


LLADAT – The “Let’s Learn about Drugs and Alcohol Together” Programme is an after school alcohol awareness and drug education programme designed and developed for 2nd year parents and pupils. The programme allows parents and young people to learn more about drugs and raise alcohol awareness.

A key objective of the LLADAT is to nurture protective factors relating to the parent-child relationship, while creating a shared dialogue where clear messages surrounding alcohol awareness and drug education can take place.

The concept of shared learning experiences between parent/guardian and son/daughter is a relatively new approach as traditionally parents and adolescents educated as separate groups.

Parents attend two sessions of the LLADAT programme, attending session 1 on their own, while being accompanied by their son/daughter for session 2. The sessions are not a lecture style presentation but are rather interactive and conversational.

Whats in the sessions?

The first session seeks to empower the parents and covers the following broad range of topics

  • What is a drug?
  • Why young people use drugs?
  • How to talk to your child about drugs
  • Importance of Parental influence
  • Key prevention messages
  • Information on key substances

Keeping the programme age appropriate for 2nd year pupils – the LLADAT programme explores the following key messages

  • Cannabis usage can affect your mental health
  • Solvents abuse can led to premature death
  • The consequences of Alcohol are as harmful as illegal drugs, affecting health and wellbeing, relationships, and your safety

Social, Personal and
Health Education (SPHE)

SPHE is a relatively new subject to Junior Cycle Education, mandated by the Education Act of 1998, the first syllabus was delivered into schools in September 2001.

The SPHE Programme supports the personal development, health and well-being of young people and helps them create and maintain supportive relationships.

The aim of the SPHE programme is to:

  • To enable the students to develop skills for self-fulfilment and living in communities
  • To promote self-esteem and self-confidence
  • To enable the students to develop a framework for responsible decision-making
  • To provide opportunities for reflection and discussion
  • To promote physical, mental and emotional health and well-being

The content of the SPHE programme is divided across 10 modules. These modules cover a range of topics and are communicated via a “spiral curriculum.” “Spiral” – meaning that over the three years of junior cycle education the same topics / modules are taught each year building upon previous learning.

What’s covered
in the 10 modules?

  • 1_no_yes
  • rships_sexhealth
  • emotional_health
  • physical_health
  • belonging_integration
  • friendship
  • communication
  • self_mgt
  • personal_safety
  • substance_use

Spiral Curriculum Example Module:
Substance Use

1st Year: Tobacco and Alcohol

2nd Year: Alcohol and Cannabis

3rd Year: Ecstasy and Heroin

The spiral curriculum is very important when teaching and learning about substance use as it allows the content to remain age appropriate. One of the most important things we have learned from research is that to increase protection and reduce risk it is imperative that messages to our young people remain age appropriate. When inappropriate information is supplied, it can often result in the “boomerang effect.”

*Boomerang effect – refers to the unintended consequences of an attempt to persuade resulting in the adoption of an opposing position instead.

Facts about Drugs
in Ireland

The National Advisory Committee for Drugs (NACD) Prevalence Study identified the following:

  • 1 in 4 aged between 15-64 (27%) report taking illegal drugs at some point in their life (Island of Ireland)
  • Over 1 in 30 (3.2%) had used an illegal drug in the last month in the Republic
  • Cannabis remains the most commonly used illegal drug
  • Cocaine use among the young adult population has grown since the last prevalence survey (2006/07)

The Health Behaviour in School Aged Children (HBSC) in 2010 identified the following facts:

  • 21% of 12-14 year olds report having had an alcohol drink in the past month
  • 28% of children report to being really drunk in the past month
  • 5% of children between 10-17 identified using cannabis in the last 30 days
  • More boys than girls, and older children opposed to younger children are more likely to use cannabis in the last 30 days.

Tips for talking
to your teenager!

  • Chat… don’t interrogate!
  • Teach responsibility – boundaries are important, so too are ground rules.
  • Build self esteem – build confidence.
  • Actions speak louder than words – we need to think about our own use, including our use of medicines and alcohol!!
  • Spend time together as a family.
  • Keep lines of communication open – listen, even though you might not always agree.
  • Ask for help.
  • Be honest – answer their questions honestly and be honest about your fears and worries.
  • Show them that you love them and care for them!

** Remember the Reality – we live in a drug taking society! **

(Adapted from Don’t Lose the Head, DAP, CrossCare)

Parents FAQ

The LLADAT programme is a two session programme, developed for 2nd year pupils and their parents. The programme is currently delivered to over 50% of post-primary schools across the mid-west region of Ireland. The purpose of the programme is to support the work done in schools by the Social, Personal and Health Education (SPHE) subject. The programme however also seeks to support parents in addressing what can be a very difficult topic in the home, by creating a relaxed, safe welcoming environment where parent and child work in a shared experience sharing dialogue.

Essentially, just, show up.

Your attendance is a key part of the programme, and your son or daughter is not permitted to attend without you attending the first week. We stipulate parental attendance at the first session to make the second session easier. We use the first session to get to know each other, and to give you the key information that you need as a parent, and to assure you that the fears and questions you may have are natural. During this first session we also give you a heads up for the following week, including so that you’re not attending blind and feeling out of your depth.

Both sessions are interactive and engaging but no parent is put on the spot or made participate if they do not wish to contribute, and there are certainly no role plays!

We understand that not all children will be anxious to attend with you for session two, but we urge parents to at least attend week one for yourself, so that you can get the knowledge and support for yourself.

Our independent evaluation carried out by the University of Limerick, showed that parents really valued the sessions, and found it beneficial and valuable, below are some extracts from the report. [full report can be found here]

  • I learned a lot about the different types of drugs and their effects
  • I thought it was all relevant
  • All information was very effective and informative
  • Hearing the viewpoints of our children
  • Listening to what our children had to say
  • The information that was given was easy to understand
  • Interaction between parents and children
  • Excellent, lived up to my expectations

There is no denying that the issue of drug and alcohol use can be upsetting for some.  At some point, drug and alcohol issues have affected us all.  As a result, there is a natural risk of upset and distress.  The content of the workshops is pitched to minimise this, and sticks to facts, with little or no sensationalism.  We offer links to support services for those involved and would encourage anyone that is distressed or upset to link in with the worker before the close of the session.

Participation in this programme is voluntary from a MWRDAF / HSE end, however some schools are choosing to make the programme a mandatory part of the pupils SPHE curriculum, and therefore may request you attendance.  Please note that if you do not attend session one, then you, or your son/daughter are not permitted to attend the second session.

There is some information collected on the night for varying reasons:

  • A sign in sheet collects your name and phone numbers on the night, this is in the event that we have to cancel the second workshop, and in case of any emergency on the night, we have a list of those attending.
  • You will be asked to complete a survey and evaluation.  These are referred to as the “feedback evaluations”  The data collected on these surveys is collated with data from other schools around the region and presented to the HSE as part of our annual report and funding application for the following year.  While this document asks for your name this is purely to make a comparison and will not be passed onto schools or parents.
  • All information that is collected is kept private and stored securely and safely on the researchers’ computer.  The computers are protected with a password.  Your name will not appear on any information.  The information that is gathered in the study will be kept for seven years.  After this time, it will be destroyed.

Parents, guardians, grandparents anyone with a responsibility or relationship with other second year pupils in the same school are invited to take part.  We ask schools to open the programme up to all second year pupils and their families.

There have been some instances in the past where we have clustered schools.  We “cluster” schools to facilitate and accommodate more parents, pupils and schools, where this is taking place schools, parents and pupils are notified well in advance.  Clustering is always done in partnership and with the support of the individual schools.

At the end of the first session, participants are offered a review of session two, and are given handouts to aid with session two.  We like to give returning parents as much information as possible so they feel comfortable in the returning environment and can concentrate on their shared experience and dialogue with their son/daughter.

At the end of session two, an anonymous “Question and Answer,” session takes place with the pupils, parents are invited back for the answers.  This exercise has proven to be a very successful with pupils enjoying the safety of the environment and taking the opportunity to ask a wide range of questions.

Where something sensitive or worrying has been raised during the “Q&A” session, the matter is dealt with as much as can be on the night, and the schools SPHE, HSCL and principal are informed and encouraged to perhaps revisit in SPHE class with all 2nd year students regardless of them all being present at the workshop.

If you have any questions about the programme you may contact either the school directly or indeed the Post Primary Substance Use Education Worker, Dr. Sancha Power.  It is important that you feel that all your questions have been answered.

Dr. Sancha Power

sancha.power@hse.ie | info@lladat.ie

(086) 4678010 | (061) 607242

At any stage should you feel that you want to stop taking part in the programme, you are free to stop and take no further part.  There are no consequences for changing your mind about being involved.

Parent Testimonials

  • Really informative. Excellent down to earth content Explained postives and negatives really well.

    -(GCL, An Clair)-

  • Very eye-opening to the childs needs, you often forget what its like to be young.

    -(St Marys Secondary School, Newport)-

  • It was great the way things were explained with all the examples and the case studies, real life stories and everyday examples.

    -(Coláiste Iósaef, Kilmallock)-

  • Excellent programme to make awareness of drugs and alcohol, and aimed to resolve Irelands biggest problems. Learned about the current situation and statistics, along with many tips for prevent and protect our children.

    -(St Caimins, Shannon)-

  • Dr. Sancha was brilliant. She explained each and everything in detail – I’m happy that I didn’t miss this wonderful class.

    -(St Caimins, Shannon)-

  • Hearing the kids’ answers was really informative. There are much more tuned in that I realised and seem to realise just how harmful they are.

    -(Nenagh College)-

  • Working with the students and their friends was beneficial.

    -(St Marys Secondary School, Newport)-

  • Really informative. Excellent down to earth content Explained positives and negatives really well.

    -(GCL An Clair)-

Get Involved

Interested in getting the LLADAT programme delivered in YOUR school?
Email info@lladat.ie or Phone + 353 87 1927 127
Dr. Sancha Power  – HSE Drug & Alcohol Education Officer, Programme Co-ordinator