just say what you really think about drugs: cultivating drug literacy through engaged philosophical inquiry (epi)


  • mahboubeh asgari University of British Columbia
  • barbara weber


Philosophical inquiry, drug education and drug literacy, teacher training and professional development


Research has shown that “no use” drug education programs, with the objective of scaring or shaming youth into abstinence, have not been effective in addressing problematic substance use. The ineffectiveness of such scare tactic approaches has led program developers to focus on prevention and harm reduction associated with drug use, or in general, health literacy promotion. While significant ‘discussion-based’ drug education programs have been developed over the past decade and has encouraged students to be expressive and critical thinkers regarding drug use, their effective implementation has been a challenge. This paper introduces Engaged Philosophical Inquiry (EPI) as a pedagogical approach in order to promote drug literacy. The EPI approach is used both as the content and means of professional development for high school teachers to address the significant role of teachers in these programs. Its goal is to help teachers become aware of and re-evaluate their biases, beliefs and behaviors, before they are able to facilitate a non-stereotyped, open, and thoughtful discussion on drug use related topics. The overall idea of this paper is based on an in-progress research project sponsored by Mitacs organization. It discusses the significance of the project by first presenting the existing methods and theoretical approaches to drug education. On that basis, it shows how EPI can contribute to traditional drug education approaches. It then describes how the methodology and phases of the project are rooted in a dialogical process that aim for a close collaboration with teachers.

Author Biography

mahboubeh asgari, University of British Columbia

Post-doctoral Researcher, Philosophy with Children




How to Cite

asgari, mahboubeh, & weber, barbara. (2015). just say what you really think about drugs: cultivating drug literacy through engaged philosophical inquiry (epi). Childhood & Philosophy, 11(22), 361–376. Retrieved from https://www.e-publicacoes.uerj.br/childhood/article/view/20709