Healthy Harold has been educating children on healthy and safe living for most of Life Education’s 35 years in business, but the latest update to his curriculum might raise a few parents’ eyebrows.
The educational animal will soon be talking to children about the drug ice.
Harold, a giraffe mascot and puppet, has been one of the most fondly-remembered aspects of Life Education’s healthy living education program for decades.
But now, Life Education has adapted Healthy Harold’s repertoire to cover methamphetamines in response to a growing use of the illicit drug in Australia.
According to the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre estimates, usage of meth, or ice as it’s commonly known, has tripled over the past five years, prompting concerned schools to request the program be expanded.
The not-for-profit organisation spreads its message primarily via buses that travel to different schools, taking one or two classes at a time, and using fun and wonder to soften the edges of serious topics such as healthy eating and addiction.
While Life Education’s visiting bus has educated children on a variety of substances including tobacco, alcohol and caffeine, the inclusion of meth is the first time illegal drugs of any kind will be discussed by the group.
Year 5 and 6 students (11-13 year-olds) will now learn about the physiological effects of meth as well as the symptoms associated with come-downs.
They will also be taught that the drug is available in different forms.
Schools will be given the option to choose whether or not to include the meth curriculum in their Life Education visit when the program is rolled out later this year.