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Curtin University
National Drug Research Institute

Preventing Harmful Drug Use In Australia

Media Release


Date: Tuesday, 25 June 2013

National prevention award for WA-developed school alcohol education program

A Western Australian developed school alcohol education program that has reduced alcohol-related harm among young people around the world has been recognised with a national Excellence in Prevention and Community Education Award.

The School Health and Alcohol Harm Reduction Project (SHAHRP) was developed with input from young people and teachers by researchers at the National Drug Research Institute, including Dr Nyanda McBride, Ms Fiona Farringdon and Associate Professor Richard Midford.

The SHAHRP study has been replicated in the UK with the results supporting the Australian findings, providing strong proof that this program is important in reducing alcohol use and problems with young people. The program has been adopted in a variety of settings in Australia and elsewhere, with 16,000 young people in Northern Ireland receiving the program annually.

SHAHRP was recognised with the Excellence in Prevention and Community Education award at the 2013 National Drug and Alcohol Awards. The award recognises a program, policy or resource that makes a significant contribution to the prevention of any type of drug use or drug-related harm.

SHAHRP Leader Nyanda McBride said the program, developed in the late 1990s, was the first to assess the impact of an alcohol harm reduction approach to school-based alcohol education.

Evaluations of SHAHRP have shown that students who participate in SHAHRP consume 20 per cent less alcohol and are 19.5 per cent less likely to drink to harmful or hazardous levels. They also have 10 per cent greater alcohol-related knowledge, and experience 33 per cent less harm associated with their own use of alcohol and 10 per cent less harm associated with other peoples’ use of alcohol.

"Within a period of about 10 years, young people change from school-age individuals who have never had an alcoholic drink to young individuals who, as an age group, are the heaviest drinking section of the population," Dr McBride said.

"The SHAHRP results show the program has had a significant impact on the total and type of alcohol consumed by young people, and on the harm they experience in alcohol situations.

"At a time when alcohol-related harm, particularly among young people, is generating significant debate, I believe school drug education programs like SHAHRP can be part of as a comprehensive approach to prevent or reduce the harm alcohol causes in our community."

NDRI is based at Curtin University’s Health Research Campus in Perth and is supported by funding from the Australian Government under the Substance Misuse Prevention and Service Improvement Grants Fund.

For more information, visit the SHAHRP website at http://ndri.curtin.edu.au/research/shahrp/index.cfm.

Further Information:

Dr Nyanda McBride
Senior Research Fellow, National Drug Research Institute
Curtin University
Phone: 61 (0)8 9266 1605

Vic Rechichi
Communications Officer, National Drug Research Institute
Curtin University
Phone: 61 (0)8 9266 1627
Mobile: 0414 682 055

Rachael Lobo
Communications Officer, National Drug Research Institute
Curtin University
Phone: 61 (0)8 9266 1627
Mobile: 0400 218831