Premiere: Optional subjects related to drug consumption and bullying

English Section / 30 octombrie 2023

Premiere: Optional subjects related to drug consumption and bullying

Versiunea în limba română

Education faces issues unrelated to the learning process. Drug consumption and violence are two of the most serious among them. Ion Aleodor Roman, the coordinator of the Center for Drug Prevention, Evaluation, and Counseling (CPECA) in Mureş, a police commissioner, and Gabriela Pâncă, the coordinator of the Crime Analysis and Prevention Department, a chief police commissioner, have proposed, for the first time nationally, the introduction of an optional subject in schools called "Education for Safety." This subject would address issues such as drug consumption, bullying, juvenile delinquency, and road safety. Ion Aleodor Roman stated, "We had a national good practice project. It's the only one of its kind. We want to implement an optional subject in schools that will address not only drug consumption but also bullying, juvenile delinquency, and road safety. This is the first of its kind on a national level. We hope to succeed with this project and implement this optional discipline "Education for Safety' (...) The age of drug consumption initiation is worryingly young, at 13-14 years old (...) We have records of even younger children, but the age of initiation at 13-14 is worrying."

Gabriela Pâncă, the coordinator of the Crime Analysis and Prevention Department, chief police commissioner, mentioned that this optional course would be unique nationally and that some teachers in Mureş County have already adopted it: "The safety project is an old one that we are proud of and have made progress with. Teachers can find out what they need to do, sign up, and participate in training to teach this subject on the website. There are materials available there that can be useful to any teacher, class teacher in activities related to the whole range of safety and all areas of crime. It was a bit challenging at the beginning, as with any start, but we are awaiting approval from the Ministry of Education for the curriculum and for the organization of teacher training for those who want to get involved, participate in training, and eventually teach this subject. There is a manual available on the website, and there are also workbooks. Of course, materials can be developed; it's a start, but we believe it's a very important one. In fact, we've been discussing this for the past five years."

The representative from the Mureş County Police stated that a sports teacher was the first to experiment with teaching this subject during bicycle safety education: "That's where we started, from the sessions of the Mureş Community Foundation regarding proper bicycle riding. The sports teacher used not only his own classes to teach. Some teachers invited us to support them in certain activities. It's a beginning, and we hope that once parents see how this subject is, it will spread, and more and more schools will be able to offer it (...) The important thing is to start somewhere, and this is an extraordinary support, as the human resources involved in educating students about safety are limited, and the involvement of teachers will be an extraordinary contribution."

Police Commissioner Ion Aleodor Roman stated that in addition to the young age at which some children start consuming drugs, there is another risk factor: "These drugs contain more and more substances other than psychoactive ones. I'm referring to toxic, carcinogenic chemical substances, real poisons contained in these drugs. These are some of the risks that concern us more than just the increase in drug use prevalence and the number of drug users because more and more such risk factors have emerged (...) We've taken all of these aspects into account in our drug consumption prevention activities. Everything has been directed in this way to reduce these risk factors and reduce the demand for drugs. Another risk factor we have considered is the diversification of consumption typologies and consumption areas. We are no longer talking about major urban centers, cities, and municipalities in terms of drug consumption; we have many consumers in rural areas, in villages and communities. In this regard, we have carried out prevention activities on three major fronts: at school (middle school, high school, and university), prevention in families, and prevention in the community."

Awareness of the dangers is very important for students, as supported by specialists.