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Curtin University
National Drug Research Institute

Preventing Harmful Drug Use In Australia

SHAHRP

School Health and Alcohol Harm Reduction Project

Young People and Alcohol

Why focus on alcohol?

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

Adolescent Brain Development and the Impact of Alcohol

Brain development occurs throughout adolescence and into early adulthood, however changes in adolescent brain development are more subtle compared to early infant and childhood brain development. There are very few human studies that provide definitive information about the effect of alcohol on adolescent brain development.

What can schools do to help young people in alcohol use situations?

Schools can use the SHAHRP webpage material to support school-based decisions for including evidence-based* alcohol education in their curriculum and for teacher training in alcohol education. The following section provides a brief overview of how alcohol education fits into a community approach to reduce alcohol related harm in Australian society.

Harm Reduction or Abstinence Approach to School Drug Education?

The results of SHAHRP clearly show that young people are capable of making decisions on how to reduce alcohol related harm, and are able to act on these decisions.