Dr. John A. Weafer is an independent Research Consultant with broad interests in community-focused research, including aspects of mental health and well-being.
International research shows that effective alcohol education empowers young people to develop skills, knowledge, attitudes and values, enabling them to build resilience and to navigate more safely in a world where alcohol is widely available and used. Effective alcohol education programmes can also play an important role in delaying the age of the first drink.
The principal aim of this project – which is being conducted by the CMHCR in collaboration with Weafer Associates Research &Consultancy Ltd – is to investigate the effectiveness and acceptability of a new Alcohol Education Programme over its three-year delivery period (2018-2020). A secondary aim is to monitor and critically appraise any changes over time in attitudes, knowledge, beliefs and behaviours surrounding alcohol consumption in young teenagers.
The Alcohol Education Programme (AEP) developed by Drinkaware, is a manualised programme delivered by teachers to Junior Cycle (First to Third year) students within the context of the Social Personal and Health Education (SPHE) curriculum. The AEP aims to promote awareness among students of the effects of alcohol, and to support the development of personal and social skills that promote independent decision-making about alcohol. It also seeks to empower young people to develop strategies to resist peer pressure, change behaviours and engage in alternatives to alcohol use.
The specific objectives of the ‘ALCO-ED’ project are to: (1) assess the nature, extent and experience of alcohol use amongst a sample of First to Third Year students in post-primary schools throughout Ireland; (2) investigate the students’ attitudes and beliefs toward, and knowledge of, alcohol, and how these might have changed (if at all) from previous years; and (3) to assess the perceived effectiveness, experience and acceptability of the Alcohol Education Programme (AEP) in the three years of its delivery in participating schools.
Further information on Drinkaware can be found at www.drinkaware.ie