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Trialled in schools in Northern Ireland and Scotland, an alcohol harm reduction curriculum for secondary schools plus a parental component led to fewer pupils drinking heavily at a single sitting, but without significantly reducing harm related to the child’s drinking.
In this Dutch study, promoting parental rule setting and classroom alcohol education together nearly halved the proportion of adolescents who went on to drink heavily. Rarely have such strong and sustained drinking prevention impacts been recorded from these types of interventions.
In this US study a substance use prevention programme for adolescent girls accessed over the internet from home had effects comparable to school-based drug education, yet occupied no classroom or teacher time and could inexpensively be replicated across the internet-linked population. Also described are later reports from similar studies.
DOCUMENT 1987 HTM file
High time for harm reduction
Impelled by the injecting-related AIDS crisis, Merseyside was where harm reduction in the UK first took root. From there in 1987 came this groundbreaking call for a turn away from what was seen as a failed attempt to prevent use to mitigating the harm. Expressed modestly as a “prudent” suggestion, with Russell Newcombe’s essay, “harm reduction” had come of age.
Strong argument for harm reduction to be the basis of standard drug education within schools from this large-scale Australian trial. Alcohol-related findings 15 months after the two-year programme ended showed its residual effectiveness in reducing pupils’ alcohol consumption and related harm.
Evaluated drug prevention programmes for adolescents are typically implemented by research teams, raising questions over real-world applicability and sustainability, but an important US trial is said to have robustly demonstrated the public health potential of a system in which the communities themselves take primary responsibility.
STUDY 2012 HTM file
Differential impact of a Dutch alcohol prevention program targeting adolescents and parents separately and simultaneously: low self-control and lenient parenting at baseline predict effectiveness
An alcohol prevention intervention that combined adolescent and parent components was found to be effective at delaying the onset of regular drinking only among children with low self-control or whose parents were lenient.
HOT TOPIC 2017 HTM file
It’s magic: prevent substance use problems without mentioning drugs
‘Hot topics’ offer background and analysis on important issues which sometimes generate heated debate. Analyses the evidence leading to the realisation that focusing on drugs is not necessarily the best way to prevent problem drug use; youth programmes addressing underlying vulnerabilities and structural influences have growing research support.
HOT TOPIC 2016 HTM file
‘Everyone’s not doing it’ message offers hope for prevention
‘Hot topics’ offer background and analysis on important issues which sometimes generate heated debate. ‘Normative education’ comparing the recipient’s use levels to population norms retains some of its shine as the great hope for school- and college-based prevention, but accumulating data demands a reappraisal.
HOT TOPIC 2016 HTM file
Drug education yet to match great (preventive) expectations
‘Hot topics’ offer background and analysis on important issues which sometimes generate heated debate. Once relied on as the best way to prevent substance use and related problems across a population, drug education in schools has failed to deliver on this agenda: wrong agenda, or wrong education?
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