Responsible drinking programmes
supported by European spirits producers

• “ESPACE programme (Alcohol Education, Awareness-raising and Prevention in a school environment) ”
• “Programme ESPACE (Education, Sensibilisation et Prévention Alcool au Collège avec l’appui de l’Environnement)”
TIMING 2009 > 2013
Underage drinking


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  • Limoges education authorities (with agreement from the Ministry of National Education)
  • High-level coordination committee (education commissioner, regional education inspectors, experts, etc.)


  • To encourage pupils to adopt controlled and responsible behaviour regarding alcoholic drinks through efforts in two areas: 1/by pushing back the age of regular alcohol consumption and 2/through preventing binge drinking.


  • The three year pilot is based on research showing that the most effective way to influence pupil's behaviour is through the development of their psychosocial skills combined with the gradual introduction alcohol education, along with the active involvement of teachers and parents throughout (research carried out by Marie Choquet, Psychologist, Epidemiologist, Director of Research the National Institute of Health and Medical Research, France). It is rigorously and independently evaluated by the ORS (Limousin Regional Health Observatory).
  • It is run in 15 "collèges" (middle schools) with a further 15 being used to compare the effectiveness of the campaign (control group). The same group of pupils is followed over three academic years (from 11-12 years old to 13-14 years old).
  • Lessons: The programme slots into two syllabus classes - Self-Esteem and Psychosocial Skills (LAES) and Life and Earth Sciences (SVT):
    • Lessons for the LAES classes were developed with support from Dr Corinne Roehring (public health doctor and family therapist) and are spread over six two hour sessions. They focus on developing self-esteem, life skills, withstanding peer pressure and making informed health choices.
    • SVT lessons focus on the effects of alcohol on the body.
  • Parents are kept informed through:
    • Yearly meetings held in every school to inform parents about the project.
    • Twice-yearly newsletter which contains 4 pages of lively topic coverage, in the form of articles, case studies, interviews with experts or people involved in the project, special insets, etc.
    • An interactive website which includes information about the programme and a forum. It also links to the alcohol and parents website.


  • 1,253 students followed the programme (16 hours of lesson per year) over a three year period. 


  • Independent assessment is carried out by the ORS in order to determine the impact of the programme on behaviour, views and knowledge with regard to alcohol and on the personal development and life skills of students (Published with Marie Choquet expertise). 98 multiple choice questions concern: socio-demographics (5); school environment (6); alcohol consumption (15): tobacco/cannabis consumption (1 each); knowledge and attitudes to alcohol (24); self perception (25) and family and friends (21).
  • Results:
    • TO - Initial assessment December 2009/January 2010: 98% response rate (1,151 participant group/1,135 control group).
      • 76% in the control group had tried alcohol (71% in test group).
      • Boys are more likely to drink alcohol than girls (77% boys, 70% girls): 9% boys had drank at least once a month compared to 2% for girls and 4% had been drunk (5% boys, 3% girls).
      • They mostly drank with their parents (84%) and showed relatively good knowledge about alcohol, in particular that it is a drug (79.6%).
    • T1 - 1st survey: May 2010/June 2010: 96% response rate (1,139 participant group).
      • SVT workshop: 91% thought that the explanation about alcohol was easy to understand and 87% thought that it was interesting. Students remembered the lessons well in general. 
      • LAES workshop: Even though the workshops had been the cause for some embarrassment (expected at this age) students' opinions were generally very positive. In addition, 80% said they had spoken with their parents about the workshops (73% with their peers).
      • Comparison between T0 and T1: Children felt less comfortable with their family (down 4%) and less happy with themselves (down 8%). More positively, they felt that they could do as well as others (up 3%), were less afraid to fail a task (down 5%), felt able to be different from their peer group (up 21%) and more able to resolve problems (up 2%).    
    • T2 - Mid assessment using identical questionnaire to T0 with an additional questionnaire for the participant group: May 2011/June 2011: (1126 participant/1074 control). Preliminary results:
      • SVT: Lessons easy to understand (90%) and interesting (70% - down 17%) but there were some difficulties in understanding certain areas (eg, elimination of alcohol in the body).
      • LAES: Lower level of appreciation in the second year than in the first and those wishing to take the class the following year was only 39% (versus 66% t1). Workshops were judged interesting by 50% of students and useful by 56% (versus 75% and 73% T1).
      • Overall: clear results between the control group/action group on self esteem and knowledge but had no difference on the numbers who try alcohol. Paradoxically the participant group consume more cannabis than the control group.
    • T3 - End assessment (April 2014).  Preliminary results with pupils in 3eme (last year of middle school) show:
      • Significant improvement of alcohol knowledge and its effects effects with the experimental group.
      • A very significant difference between the experimental and control groups in terms of self esteem and psychosocial competences, especially as regards self-assertion (and, potentially, the capacity to refuse requests to drink). 
      • No definitive conclusion can yet be drawn concerning the impact of the programme on consumptions (regular consumption of alcohol or tobacco, drunkenness), which can be explained by the fact that at 14 or 15, consumption patterns are not entirely developed.  As a result, the ORS (Limousin Regional Health Observatory). and the scientific committee of ESPACE would like to carry out a final evaluation with "lycée" (upper secondary school), students between 16 and 18.
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