Positive Choices: National Drug and Alcohol Prevention Portal

image - School Girl Square
Date Commenced:
09/2013
Expected Date of Completion:
06/2020
Project Supporters:

Australian Government Department of Health

Project Members: 
image - Lexine Stapinski 2015 Square
Senior Lecturer
Ph 02 9385 0422
image - Siobhan Lawler
Research Assistant
Ph +61 (2) 9385 0320
image - Maree Teesson Square
Professor
Ph EA Jasmin Bartlett: 02 9385 0167 / j.bartlett@unsw.edu.au
image - 1314679218 Catherine Chapman 05 0
Senior Research Fellow
Ph 02 9385 0317
image - Img 6213
Conjoint Associate Professor
Ph 02 4985 4309
Project Main Description: 

Providing young people with accurate, up-to-date information and support is the best way to prevent the harms associated with drug and alcohol use.  The Department of Health identified the need for an online portal to help school communities access evidence-based information and drug prevention programs. With input from teachers, parents and students across Australia we are compiling drug education resources that are engaging, interactive, and proven to improve student wellbeing.

Project Collaborators: External: 

Dr Nyanda McBride
National Drug Research Institute, Curtin University

Professor Steve Allsop
National Drug Research Institute, Curtin University

Netfront

Australian Government Department of Health

Rationale: 

Providing young people with accurate, up-to-date information and support is the best way to prevent the harms associated with drug and alcohol use.  The Department of Health have identified the need for an online portal to help school communities access evidence-based information and drug prevention programs.  With input from teachers, parents and students across Australia we are compiling drug education resources that are engaging, interactive, and proven to improve student wellbeing.  

Aims: 

To develop, evaluate and launch an online portal “Positive Choices” to deliver information and school-based programs aimed at preventing alcohol and illicit drug use and related harms

Design and Method: 

Literature reviews, teacher and parent interviews, and expert consultation were conducted to source and screen drug education resources including: factsheets, videos, interactive games and apps, and evidence-based prevention programs. Additional educational resources were developed including teacher and parent guides. Content and web development was evaluated with the target user groups (teachers, parents and students), and revised in response to feedback to ensure the portal is relevant, engaging, user friendly and age appropriate.  

Progress/Update: 
  • Initial consultation with teachers and parents was conducted in 2013 to identify information needs and gain feedback on initial portal design.
  • Content development and consultation continued through 2014 and the Positive Choices portal was designed and developed in collaboration with Netfront.
  • Beginning November 2014, user-testing of the beta version of the site was conducted with teachers and parents to gain feedback. In parallel, detailed feedback was sought from the expert advisory committee. This consultation was invaluable for identifying additional points for improvement, and the portal was revised accordingly.
  • The Positive Choices portal was officially launched on Sunday 6th December as part of the Government’s drug and alcohol prevention strategy for schools.
  • The Department of Health committed additional funding over a 4-year period (2016-2020) to ensure the portal is updated as new evidence and resources are developed.
  • Regular review and scoping is conducted to ensure the information and resource database is up-to-date, and training opportunities are provided through the quarterly Positive Choices webinar series. Regular updates about relevant research and new resources are available via the subscriber newsletter, facebook and twitter accounts.
Output: 

The Positive Choices portal is currently available for use by parents, teachers and students at www.positivechoices.org.au.

Conference Presentations:

Stapinski, L. Newton, N., Lawler, S., Kay-Lambkin, F., Chapman, C. & Teesson M. (2016). Positive Choices: Harnessing technology to translate evidence-based drug and alcohol prevention. Pre-conference workshop at the Society for Mental Health Research conference, Sydney, 7-9 December.

Stapinski, L. Newton, N., Lawler, S., Chapman, C., Kay-Lambkin, F., & Teesson M. (2016). Positive Choices: Translation of evidence-based drug and alcohol prevention in schools. NHMRC Symposium on Research Translation, Melbourne, 23 November.

Stapinski, L.* & Lawler, S.* (2016). Positive Choices evidence-based drug education:
What can teachers do to prevent drug-related harms? Workshop at the PDHPE Teachers Association Annual State Conference, Newcastle, 14-15 October.

Stapinski, L.* & Lawler, S.* (2016). ‘Ice’ and other drug use among young people: what can teachers do to prevent the harms? Workshop at the Peak Phys Ed Conference, Sydney, 25 July.

Newton, N*. & Stapinski, L*. (2016). Overview, update and future directions for the prevention of substance use and related harms among young people. The Mental Health Services Summer Forum, Sydney, February.

Lawler, S., Stapinski, L. Newton, N., Reda, B., Chapman, C., Kay-Lambkin, F., & Teesson M. (2016). Positive Choices: An online drug and alcohol prevention initiative for school communities. e-Mental Health International Conference, Newcastle, 17-18 November.

Lawler, S., Stapinski, L. Newton, N., Reda, B., Chapman, C., Kay-Lambkin, F., & Teesson M. (2016). Positive Choices evidence-based drug education: What can teachers do to prevent drug-related harms? Congress of the World Federation for Mental Health, Cairns, 14 October.

Lawler, S., Stapinski, L. Newton, N., Reda, B., Chapman, C., Kay-Lambkin, F., & Teesson M. (2016). Positive Choices – evaluation of a drug and alcohol prevention initiative for school communities. Australasian Youth Justice Conference, Brisbane, 13-15 September.

Lawler, S., Stapinski, L. Newton, N., Reda, B., Chapman, C., Kay-Lambkin, F., McBride, N., Allsop, S. & Teesson M. (2016). Positive Choices:  evaluation of a drug and alcohol prevention initiative for school communities. National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre Annual Symposium, Sydney, 12 September.

Stapinski, L. (2015). Innovative prevention and treatment approaches to interrupt the vicious  cycle of anxiety and substance use. Invited presentation (Early Career Researcher Innovation Award) at The Mental Health Services conference, Canberra, 25-28 August.

Reda, B., Stapinski, L., Newton, N., Chapman, C., Kay-Lambkin, F., & Teesson, M. (2015). Online school-based resources for the prevention of alcohol & substance use in adolescents. (ACPHER) Australian Council for Health, Physical Education and Recreation. Adelaide, April.

Stapinski, L. (2014). Development and dissemination of drug and alcohol prevention resources for schools. Invited presentation (Australian Rotary Health Knowledge Dissemination Award) at the Society for Mental Health Research conference, Adelaide, 3-5 December.

Stapinski, L. Newton, N., Reda, B., Chapman, C., Kay-Lambkin, F., & Teesson, M. (2014). Online Resources for the Prevention of Alcohol & Substance Use in Adolescents. Presentation at the inaugural conference of the Alliance for the Prevention of Mental Disorders, Adelaide, 2 December.

Stapinski, L. Newton, N., Reda, B., Chapman, C., Rodriguez, D., Kay-Lambkin, F., & Teesson, M (2014). Online drug education resources for young people, parents and educators. Invited presentation at the annual conference of the Centre of Research Excellence in Mental Health and Substance Use, Perth, 26 August.

Benefits: 

The online portal facilitates access to accurate and up-to-date drug information and resources. It assists school communities to plan and implement evidence-based drug prevention programs. 

Project Status: 
Current