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March 3, 2017

SO YOUR SCHOOL HAS BEEN APPROACHED BY AN EXTERNAL ORGANISATION...

We posted this article back in 2016, but we think it's worth re-visiting.  There are an increasing number of external organisations offering alcohol and other drug prevention sessions for school students. While there are benefits in local services connecting with students in order to promote their service, we know that poorly designed AOD prevention programs can have unintended impacts, including increasing substance use and harm. It can be difficult for schools to know if the prevention programs offered by external agencies are evidence-based. To help with this, we came up with some suggestions to assist school-based workers in assessing whether an externally delivered program might be effective.


  1. Does the program comply with the "Principles of School Drug Education"?
  2. Has the program been evaluated and found to change behaviour - (not just "the students enjoyed it")?
  3. Has the program been developed, endorsed or supported by a university or a goverment department like Queensland Health or Education Queensland?

If you can answer "yes" to these questions, then the chances are you have found a quality program for your school.  If you answer "no" to these questions, the program might be inappropriate for schools and could have unintended outcomes for the students. If you're not sure, feel free to get in touch with Dovetail and we'd be happy to help you decide if the program is suitable for your school.

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June 3, 2016

THE EFFECTIVENESS OF MASS MEDIA CAMPAIGNS FOR PREVENTING ILLICIT DRUG USE

Dovetail's own Cameron Francis did a presentation a couple of weeks back, which is now available to view online.  The presentation titled "The effectiveness of mass media campaigns for preventing illicit drug use" covers a long history of research demonstrating that these campaigns are at best ineffective and at worst can increase intentions to use substances.  The presentation is based around the 2015 Cochrane Review which found "Contrary to common belief, anti-drug media campaigns may be damaging and their dissemination is ethically unacceptable without a prior assessment of their effectives.  New campaigns should be implemented in the framework of rigorous evaluation studies."

 

Watch "The effectiveness of mass media campaigns for preventing illicit drug use"

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April 22, 2016

CAN MASS MEDIA CAMPAIGNS PREVENT ILLICIT DRUG USE?

Dovetail's own Cameron Francis will be presenting a webinar on the topic of "Mass media for preventing illicit drug use" on Wednesday May the 4th at 10am.  A 2015 Cochrane Review found "Contrary to common belief, anti-drug media campaigns may be damaging and their dissemination is ethically unacceptable without a prior assessment of their effects. New campaigns should be implemented in the framework of rigorous evaluation studies." This presentation will provide an overview of the history of mass media campaigns around substance use, and will consider a broad range of unintended consequences. If you can't attend the webinar live, a recording will be available afterwards.

  1. To attend the webinar go to this website on Wednesday the 4th of May at 10am

  2. Select `PARTICIPANT`

  3. Enter Webinar Registration Code 52365378 in the participant code area

  4. Enter your name

  5. Join the Webconference (it may take a few seconds to load)

  6. Turn up the sound on your computer (or preferably use headphones)

 

 

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November 12, 2015

STEP-BY-STEP TOOLKIT

The Step-by-Step Toolkit is intended for harm reduction service providers with limited experience of working with children and young people who inject drugs. This tool is the result of a partnership between Harm Reduction International (HRI), Youth Rise, International HIV/AIDS Alliance and Save the Children and was developed in response to HRI research on injecting drug use among under 18s globally that highlighted gaps in the response for this group.

Read more and dwonload the toolkit here

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October 14, 2015

MASS MEDIA CAMPAIGNS TO PREVENT ILLICIT DRUG USE

Dovetail were lucky enough to be invited to present at the recent "Tackling Methamphetamine" conference in Sydney, on the topic of "The effectiveness of mass media campaigns for prevention illicit drug use."  The presentation drew heavily from the recent Cochrane Review into such mass media campaigns.  The 2015 Cochrane Review analysed 19 studies comprising 184 811 participants.  The authors found eight interventions had no effect on intentions to use, or actual rates of drug use.  Four interventions had some beneficial effect, while two interventions increased rates of substance use in the community.  Due to these findings, the authors conclude "Contrary to common belief, anti-drug media campaigns may be damaging and their dissemination is ethically unacceptable without a prior assessment of their effects. New campaigns should be implemented in the framework of rigorous evaluation studies."

Allara, E., Ferr, M., Bo, Alessandra., Gasparrini, A. (2015) "Are mass-media campaigns effective in preventing drug use? A Cochrane systematic review and meta-analysis" in BMJ Open 2015;5:e007449

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September 25, 2015

ALCOHOL AND OTHER DRUG PREVENTION IN THE FAMILY

The Australian Drug Foundation "Drug Info" service has published a fact sheet titled "Alcohol and other drug prevention in the family". The fact sheet provides a plain English overview of best practice alcohol and other drug prevention strategies.  It describes the intersection of risk and protective factors that can increase the risk of a young person developing problems with alcohol and other drugs. Families play a key role in the prevention of problematic substance use, and some key strategies are described in the fact sheet.

Go to "Alcohol and other drug prevention in the family"

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February 13, 2015

NEW ALCOHOL HARM PREVENTION SERVICE

Lives Lived Well, one of Queensland's leading AOD organisations, have recently launched a brand new service: the Alcohol Harm Prevention Service (AHPS).  The service is designed to support Queensland communities to develop strategies to address alcohol related harms.  In order to kick off the service, the team has developed a short survey to find out what is happening in communities across Queensland.The survey takes 10 - 15 minutes and can be completed here.

 

If you'd like to find out more about the Alcohol Harm Prevention Service you can contact them at prevention@liveslivedwell.org.au

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February 6, 2015

CLEARING THE CLOUD

The NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence in Mental Health and Substance Use has developed a new website that brings together a range of evidence based online prevention and treatment programs and resources that cover alcohol and other drug use as well as mental health problems.  The online portal includes well known resources such as the Climate Schools program, as well as the Shade Program (a 10 week online program for reducing alcohol use), The DEAL Project (a 4 week CBT program for depression and alcohol) as well as a range of information resrources.

Go to the Clearing the Cloud Website

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November 29, 2013

DOES PARTICIPATION IN EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES REDUCE ENGAGEMENT IN RISKY BEHAVIOURS?

The Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research has published a research report titled "Does participation in extracurricular activities reduce engagement in risky behaviours?"  The report looked at participation in a variety of extracurricular activities such as art, organised sports and non-organised sports and also considered young people from low socioeconomic backgrounds alongside high socioeconomic backgrounds.  The report found that overall, participation in extra curricular activities did reduce risky activities such as alcohol consumption and cannabis use, although the effect differed by activity type, gender and socioeconomic status.

Download "Does participation in extracurricular activities reduce engagement in risky behaviours?" (455KB PDF)

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August 16, 2013

WHAT'S THE POINT OF RUNNING EDUCATION CAMPAIGNS?

The Australian Drug Foundation's "Grog Watch" recently published an article from Professor Steve Allsop (Director of the National Drug Research Institute at Curtin University) titled "What's the point of running education campaigns?"  The article describes the lack of evidence supporting mass media campaigns to reduce alcohol consumption and related harm, and the similar conclusions regarding mass media campaigns to reduce illicit drug use.  Despite this, there is evidence that mass media campaigns have worked to reduce tobacco consumption.  In this article Professor Allsop describes what he thinks the difference might be: that tobacco campaigns are supported by a range of other initiatives including redcuing access to tobacco and opportunities to smoke.  Alcohol campaigns are attempting to reduce consumption whilst at the same time availability has increased and opportunities to consume alcohol have also increased.

Read "What's the point of running education campaigns?"

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