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Evaluation of the “no brainer” youth alcohol and drug prevention program

posted on 2016-02-01, 00:00 authored by M Ghayour Minaie, John ToumbourouJohn Toumbourou, David SkvarcDavid Skvarc
Alcohol and other drug (AOD) use is a major source of preventable harm, both in Australia and internationally. Delivering effective school-based programs to prevent and delay the age that school-age youth first initiate AOD use is accepted as a feasible method for preventing related-harm. The report that follows documents the range of school-based AOD prevention programs offered by the Dalgarno Institute, one of Australia’s oldest coalition of AOD educators. The report focusses in particular on the “No Brainer” program delivered to secondary school students (Years 7 to 10). The present report was completed by a Deakin University consulting team and funded by the Dalgarno Institute. The report uses “Program Explication” to describe the program activities and intended benefits in order to articulate and evaluate the behavioural theories guiding the school-based AOD prevention programs offered by the Dalgarno Institute. This report documented the wide range of school-based AOD programs offered by the Dalgarno Institute, extending from primary through secondary school. The Dalgarno offerings are unique in including multiple curricula sessions enabling content to extend from a strong grounding in abstinence (articulating the benefits of no AOD use) into resiliency building (achieving wellbeing without AOD use), through to harm minimisation content (identification of the potential risks when involved in AOD use). The No Brainer program reflects the Dalgarno Institute approach in offering face-to-face delivery of multiple sessions and broad ranging content. Key strengths of the No Brainer program and the broader Dalgarno Institute approach are the potential to develop deep relationships within specific schools. The long program and the broad content have some potential to influence lasting student behaviour change. Key weaknesses with long and broad programs are that many schools are unable to implement them due to competing time constraints delivering core curricula content. School system increasingly mandate their schools to implement brief, online AOD prevention programs that integrate behaviour change theories, have been evaluated and have evidence they reduce targeted AOD behaviours. Long and broad programs are difficult to evaluate due to their broad content and related difficulty justifying funding for randomised trial evaluation. The report scopes options for the future development of the Dalgarno Institute AOD programs. These include: maintaining and enhancing the program by further developing strengths in long-term relationships in selected schools; and prioritising specific program components and activities that may be suited to submitting novel and creative elements to process evaluation.






Publication classification

A6 Research report/technical paper

Copyright notice

2016, Deakin University


Deakin University

Place of publication

[Melbourne, Vic.]

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