Alcohol Prevention and School Students: Findings From an Australian 2-Year Trial of Integrated Harm Minimization School Drug Education

Richard Midford, Robyn Ramsden, Leanne Lester, Helen Cahill, Johanna Mitchell, David Foxcroft, Lynne Venning

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    The Drug Education in Victorian Schools program provided integrated education about licit and illicit drugs, employed a harm minimization approach that incorporated participatory, critical thinking and skill-based teaching methods, and engaged parental influence through home activities. A cluster-randomized, controlled trial of the program was conducted with a student cohort during Year 8 (13 years) and Year 9 (14 years). Twenty-one secondary schools in Victoria, Australia, were randomly allocated to the Drug Education in Victorian Schools program (14 schools, n = 1,163) or their usual drug education program (7 schools, n = 589). This study reports program effects for alcohol. There was a greater increase in the intervention students' knowledge about drugs, including alcohol; there was a greater increase in communication with parents about alcohol; they recalled receiving more alcohol education; their alcohol consumption increased less; and they experienced a lesser increase in alcohol-related harms. Among intervention group risky drinkers, consumption and harm increased less. There were no differences between study groups in attitudes toward alcohol or in the proportion of drinkers or risky drinkers. While the program did not stop students taking up drinking, it did reduce their consumption and harm.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)71-94
    Number of pages24
    JournalJournal of Drug Education
    Volume44
    Issue number3-4
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2014

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