Home' Independence : Independence Vol 33 No 2 Oct 2008 Contents 64 Independence Volume 33 No. 2
While controls on advertising are tighten-
ing as a result of the National Committee
for the Review of Advertising and Alcohol,
whose recommendations were implemented
in March 2004, valid concerns have been
expressed about more creative 'below
the line' strategies which have emerged.
'Roaching' and SMS marketing11 are not
covered by the present code and are being
increasingly used to promote alcohol.
An encouraging trend
There is some positive change in the 'young-
er people' profile of alcohol use which, for
the purpose of the Australian Secondary Stu-
dents' Alcohol and Drug Survey (ASSAD),
relates to the 12 to 15 year old age bracket.
ASSAD surveys for 1999, 2002 and
2005, using a sample of 22,000 students,
reflected some statistically significant
shifts in consumption patterns:
• The number of students aged 12 to 15
who had tried alcohol had decreased
from 87 per cent in 1999 to 86 per
cent in 2002 and 82 per cent in 2005.
• Significantly fewer 12 to 15 year olds
had drunk in the month prior to the
survey, from 43 per cent in 1999 to 34
per cent in 2005.12
• In 2005, 22 per cent of the age group
identified themselves as 'current drink-
ers', which was lower than that recorded
in 2002 (measured at 29 per cent) and
1999 (measured at 28 per cent).
One could still take alarm at the figures,
which suggest that 82 per cent of the young
people surveyed between the ages of 12
and 15 have tried alcohol and 22 per cent
of the same cohort -- well beneath the legal
drinking age -- consider themselves to be
'current drinkers'. Nevertheless, a sustained
reduction in the prevalence of alcohol
consumption in this age group should not
go unnoticed, despite greater concern about
the profile of 14 to 17 year olds.
To seriously and effectively address
the consumption patterns of alcohol
among adolescents, a multi-faceted and
multi-layered approach is required -- one
cognisant of the many complex and inter-
woven issues endemic to the problem.
In their submission to the Parliament of
Australia in March 200813, Anglicare Vic-
toria and the Melbourne Anglican Social
Responsibilities Committee suggested the
following mix of strategies:
• legislation and penalties for non-
• tighter control measures in the advertis-
ing and supply of alcoholic beverages
• more responsible attitudes towards
product marketing by the alcoholic
• specific management of the sweet bev-
erages (alcopops) industry
• education campaigns promoting
responsible consumption and informed
The SHAHRP study was funded by the Western
Australian Health Promotion Foundation.
The School Health and Alcohol Harm
Reduction Project (SHAHRP) is a longi-
tudinal intervention research study that
uses evidence-based, classroom alcohol
education lessons to reduce alcohol-relat-
ed harm in young people.
The classroom resources, including a
teachers' manual and student workbooks
are available for free download from the
NDRI website at http://www.ndri.curtin.
The SHAHRP classroom program draws
on a range of health and drug education
program and research literature and, in
particular, published evaluation studies and
research that demonstrated some potential
for behaviour change in the target popula-
tion. It aims to assist students by enhancing
their ability to identify and use strategies that
will reduce the potential for harm in drink-
ing situations and that will assist in reducing
the impact of harm once it has occurred.
There are eight lessons in the first year
of the program (phase 1 -- Year 8), five
booster lessons in the following year (phase
2 -- Year 9) and an additional four booster
lessons two years later (phase 3 -- Year 11).
Lessons are activity-based and incorporate
input from young people and teachers.
The Institute recommends an interactive
teaching style for delivery of the lessons
and makes training available for teachers in
interactive delivery of the program. NDRI
also recommends that to maximise effective-
ness when using the SHAHRP program it
is important to teach the program as closely
as possible to how it is documented in the
teacher manual. The student change that
came about in the main study (see main
article) was based on teaching the program
to at least 80 per cent as documented.
For more information about this study contact
Dr Nyanda McBride, Senior Investigator,
SHAHRP, firstname.lastname@example.org, GPO Box
U1987 Perth, WA 6845.
The School Health and Alcohol Harm Reduction Project
National Drug Research Institute, Perth, WA
To seriously and effectively address the
consumption patterns of alcohol among
adolescents, a multi-faceted and multi-layered
approach is required.
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