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Drug and Alcohol Findings. (2013) Effectiveness Bank Bulletin [Harm reduction school drug education]. Drug and Alcohol Findings. Effectiveness Bank Bulletin, 15 Jul

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Alcohol prevention: What can be expected of a harm reduction focused school drug education programme?
Midford R., Cahill H., Ramsden R. et al. Drugs: Education, Prevention and Policy: 2012, 19(2), p. 102–110.

In Australia, alcohol outcomes from a secondary school harm reduction curriculum covering legal and illegal drugs strengthened the case that such education can not only curb harms, but also reduce consumption. Results suggest this approach might offer a more fruitful focus for education about commonly used substances than simply promoting non-use.

Summary
The featured report documented post-programme alcohol-related outcomes from a small study evaluating a harm reduction model of drug, alcohol and tobacco education in Australian secondary schools. Three schools were allocated to the tested programme and a fourth to act as a control school which carried on with normal lessons. All schools had pupil populations within the average range of socioeconomic status.

Of 930 year-eight pupils (typically 13 years old) in the schools, 521 completed a baseline assessment after approval had been obtained from the pupils and their parents. Later that school year the first set of 12 harm reduction lessons was implemented by the schools' own teachers, after which pupils completed a follow-up assessment. Another ten lessons were delivered the following year after which 318 pupils completed the final follow-up, typically when they were aged 14–15 years. Programme teachers were trained for two days in each year of the programme.

The tested curriculum incorporated learning strategies which aimed to: enhance knowledge; enhance negotiation skills; involve participants in rehearsing problem-solving and problem-prevention strategies; and engage them in deconstructing social pressures and perceived norms about levels of drug use. The curriculum was also informed by research which has identified social competence, problem-solving, autonomy and a sense of purpose as key attributes of resilient young people, and which has highlighted the importance of interactive and applied learning strategies in social and emotional learning.


Item Type:Evidence resource
Publication Type:Review
Drug Type:Alcohol or other drugs in general
Intervention Type:AOD prevention, Education and training
Source:Drug and Alcohol Findings
Date:15 July 2013
Publisher:Drug and Alcohol Findings
Corporate Creators:Drug and Alcohol Findings
Volume:15 Jul
EndNote:View
Accession Number:HRB (Electronic Only)
Subjects:L Social psychology and related concepts > Social context > School context
T Demographic characteristics > Student (secondary level)
VA Geographic area > Australia and Oceania > Australia
J Health care, prevention and rehabilitation > Substance use prevention > Substance use harm reduction
N Communication, information and education > Educational environment (school / college) > Substance use in the educational environment > School substance use policy
J Health care, prevention and rehabilitation > Prevention by sponsor or setting > School based prevention

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