NHS Health Scotland
Outcome Indicators


r. Evidence for improved substance misuse education in schools


There evidence for effectiveness of:

  1. School-based education on increasing knowledge and improving attitudes but with no sustained effect on behaviour

NICEPHG007 Recommendations:

  1. Ensure alcohol education is an integral part of the national education curricula

  2. Ensure alcohol education is tailored for different age groups and takes different learning needs into account

  3. Introduce a ‘whole school’ approach to alcohol

  4. Where appropriate, offer parents or carers information about where they can get help to develop their parenting skills

  5. Where appropriate, offer brief, one-to-one advice on the harmful effects of alcohol use, how to reduce the risks and where to find sources of support

  6. Where appropriate, make a direct referral to external services (without providing one-to-one advice)

  7. Where appropriate, involve parents or carers in the consultation and any referral to external services

  8. Maintain and develop partnerships to:
    • support alcohol education in schools as part of the national education curricula
    • ensure school interventions on alcohol use are integrated with community activities
    • find ways to consult with families (parents or carers, children and young people) about initiatives to reduce alcohol use and to involve them in those initiatives
    • monitor and evaluate partnership working and incorporate good practice into planning

Scottish policy note

The recent alcohol policy framework; ‘Changing Scotland's Relationship with Alcohol: A Framework for Action’ (2009) addressed improvements in substance misuse education in schools. This will be achieved through a Government established steering group created to advise them on developing more effective substance misuse education in Scottish schools, with membership including experts from education, drug agencies, NHS Health Scotland, the Police and officials from across Scottish Government. This group will produce advice, guidance and proposals aimed at helping schools and authorities to achieve the improvements sought through Curriculum for Excellence and ensure that the curriculum is being maximised as a key tool for educating our young people about alcohol use and misuse. A workplan has been developed with tasks designed to lead to better partnership working, improved support for those delivering teaching, and better awareness of the available teaching resources, to be implemented before the end of 2010.



Ludbrook, A.  (2004) Effective and cost-effective measures to reduce alcohol misuse in Scotland. An Update. Edinburgh: Scottish Executive

Mulvihill, C. Taylor, L. Waller, S. with Naidoo B. Thom, B. (2005) Prevention and reduction of alcohol misuse: Evidence briefing. Second Edition. London: Health Development Agency

Jones, L. James, M. Jefferson, T. et al. (2007)   A review of the effectiveness of the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of interventions delivered in primary and secondary schools to prevent and/or reduce alcohol use by young people under 18 years old.

NHS Health Scotland ( 2007) Commentary on NICEPHG007 ‘Interventions in schools to prevent and reduce alcohol use among children and young people’. http://www.healthscotland.com/scotlands-health/evidence/NICE.aspx

WHO. 2009. Evidence for the effectiveness and cost–effectiveness of interventions to reduce alcohol-related harm. World Health Organisation: Europe

Babor, T. Caetano, R. Casswell, S. Edwards, G. Giesbrecht, N. Graham, K. et al.  (2010) Alcohol: No Ordinary Commodity. Research and Public Policy. 2ND Edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press