Encounter Youth’s Alcohol & Other Drug Education
Encounter Youth commissioned an independent evaluation for our Alcohol & Other Drug education program in March 2019, which was completed in June 2021. The purpose of this evaluation was to identify how the program aligned with best-practice, its impact and to provide recommendations for ongoing improvement.
…the evaluation concludes that the service strongly meets best practice indicators and has demonstrated early evidence of its effectiveness as a primary prevention program…”
Surveys and interviews were developed and used to collect data from Year 9-12 students, school staff and parents from August 2019 until December 2020. During this period, the program reached 28,918 students, 342 parents and 459 school staff. Surveys and interviews were designed to evaluate the program and over 5,000 survey and interview responses were collected.
After participating in the program 71% of students reported that they learned new things and the same percentage identified that they would make better choices as a result.
A key component of Encounter Youth’s alcohol & other drug education is to promote positive norms and highlight the majority of students who make healthy choices around alcohol & other drug. The student evaluation surveys reflected more accurate beliefs and the normalisation of non-use of alcohol & other drug after receiving the program.
During the evaluation period, 92 schools received the program across South Australia, including schools from all three education sectors and a wide range of geographical and socio-economic demographics. Participating schools identified four key strength areas of Encounter Youth’s Alcohol & Other Drug education.
The evaluation identified eight primary indicators of evidence-based best practice for alcohol & other drug education in high schools. Encounter Youth Education strongly or mostly met all eight of these indicators.
An additional five secondary indicators were identified and Encounter Youth Education strongly or mostly met three, and partly met the remaining two indicators.
Recommendations & Further Actions
Recommendations for ongoing improvement included growing the participation, interactivity and engagement of students in the program, developing educator resources and support to reinforce messages, and continuing an ongoing evaluation.
Adjustments have already been made to the student program, commencing Term 3, 2021 in light of these recommendations. The evaluation surveys have been revised and updated and a system is being developed to return results to each school that participates in the program. Finally, a new online teacher support platform is being developed to support teachers in delivering effective alcohol & other drug education and will be launched in late 2021.
Download the full key findings report here.