Alcohol Education Guide
to Reducing Harmful Drinking


A Background to Alcohol Education Programs 

Targeted prevention programs around alcohol aim to reduce potential harms around drinking by focusing on three elements of drinking patterns:

  • “At-risk” individuals
  • Risky behaviors
  • High-risk contexts and settings

These programs include school-based alcohol education, drink driving countermeasures, prevention of underage drinking, training for those who sell and serve alcohol, initiatives to reduce violence and crime, and interventions aimed at identifying and modifying harmful drinking. Virtually all alcohol harm prevention measures include an education component, whether implicit or explicit. They offer information, some through interactive approaches, to help increase knowledge, skills, or awareness, or alter perceptions in order to reduce harmful drinking behaviors and outcomes.  


The Importance of Evaluation

While evaluation is often considered as the final step of a program, to be implemented once the intervention has been completed, meaningful evaluation requires careful planning and should be developed alongside the intervention from its inception. 

Evaluation offers a way to determine whether and to what extent a program has made progress towards accomplishing its goals and objectives. Documented success through evaluation will provide the rationale for continuing, expanding, or adapting a program. It contributes to the evidence base of what works well in alcohol education and what does not. Unfortunately, the successes of many education programs remain undocumented, largely because they have not been properly evaluated.


Background to the Guide

The Alcohol Education Guide was developed in order to facilitate a structured and comprehensive approach to alcohol education. It takes into account lessons learned from other fields where the utility and effectiveness of educational efforts are widely accepted, including prevention of obesity, HIV/AIDS, violence, drug use, and road traffic crashes. 

An expert advisory group assisted with the conceptual design of this Guide, and in the selection of those alcohol education programs included as examples of good practice on the Programs page. For a detailed description of how the Guide was developed, see the Background Page.