Alcohol Education Guide
to Reducing Harmful Drinking

Climate Schools: Alcohol and Cannabis Course



Implementer: National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre

Program Overview: Climate School is a web-based prevention program aimed at reducing alcohol consumption and cannabis use among 13 year olds in New South Whales, Australia.

Program Design: The Climate Schools program consisted of two sets of lessons. Each set was made up of six lessons lasting 40 minutes each. The first module was based on alcohol consumption, and the second module was delivered 6 months later and introduced material regarding cannabis, while also repeating some of the alcohol information. Lessons begin with a web-based lesson in cartoon form, to be completed individually and then the class works together on an activity aimed at reinforcing the materials presented in the individual lesson. The Climate Schools implementation guide can be viewed here.

Evaluation: The program was evaluated using a randomized controlled trial which compared the effectiveness of the web-based Climate School curriculum against the traditional classroom alcohol and marijuana curriculum already in place. Ten schools willing to participate were randomly assigned to either the control or intervention conditions.

The following outcomes were assessed in the pre test, post test, and 6 and 12 month follow up1:

  • Alcohol knowledge was assessed through a self-report questionnaire based on the SHAHRP Knowledge of Alcohol Index2
  • Alcohol consumption was assessed using the SHAHRP Patterns of Drinking index2
  • Alcohol related harms were measured using selected item from a SHARHP questionnaire3
  • Alcohol related expediencies were assessed using scale 2 of the AEQ-A4

Key findings: Program effects were assessed at 6 months1 and 12 months5 after participation in the Climate School program. The evaluation results showed statistically significant effects for a number of alcohol-related outcomes:

  • Improvements in alcohol-related knowledge at 6 and 12 months post intervention
  • Reductions in weekly alcohol consumption were seen at 6 and 12 months
  • Reductions in the reported frequency of drinking to excess at 12 months post intervention only

Program Website: www.climateschools.com


1. Newton, N. C., Andrews, G., Teesson, M., & Vogi, L. E. (2009). Delivering prevention for alcohol and cannabis using the internet: A cluster randomised controlled trial. Preventive Medicine, Vol. 48(6), 579-584.

2. McBride, N., Farringdon, F., Muleners, L., & Midford, R. (2006). School Health and Alcohol Harm Reduction Project: Details of intervention development and research procedures. National Drug Research Institute, Curtin University of Technology: Perth, Western Australia

3. McBride, N., Farringdon, F., Midford, R., Meuleners, L., & Phillips, M. (2004). Harm minimisation in school drug education: Final results of the School Health and Alcohol Harm Reduction Project (SHAHRP). Addiction, Vol. 99(3), 278-291.

4. Christiansen, B. A., Smith, G. T., Roehling, P. V., & Goldman, M. S. (1989). Using alcohol expectancies to predict drinking behavior after 1 year. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology. Vol. 57(1), 93-99. 

5. Newton, N. C., Teesson, M., Vogi, L. E., & Andrews, G. (2009). Internet-based prevention for alcohol and cannabis use: Final results of the Climate Schools Course. Addiction, Vol. 105(4), 749-759.

Target Audience: Middle school (10-14 years)
Issues: Heavy Episodic or Binge Drinking, Underage Drinking
Setting: Online/ Internet, School clubs or community organizations
Approach: Life Skills
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