Talk about alcohol
Union of the Czech Spirits Producers and Importers
2006 > Ongoing
To increase knowledge of the risks of underage consumption.
To promote the idea that abstinence is a valid option.
To raise awareness of the legal restrictions concerning underage drinking and the possible consequences of breaking the law.
The “Let’s Talk About Alcohol” programme was launched to combat the high prevalence of underage drinking in the Czech Republic. 2007 European School Survey Project on Alcohol and Other Drugs (ESPAD) figures for the Czech Republic showed that 98% of 15–16-year-olds had drank alcohol at least once in their lifetime and 93% had drank in the previous 12 months. Also, 62% had been drunk at least once in their lifetime and 47% had been drunk in the previous 12 months. Moreover, 63% expected positive consequences from alcohol consumption (like feeling relaxed or happy) whilst only 27% expected negative consequences (like harming their health or getting a hangover).
Aimed at students aged 12-13 the hour-long interactive lesson aims to provide the students with information about alcohol such as:
- What alcohol is
- The effects of underage drinking (under 18’s) on the body and the risks associated with it
- What to do if a friend has drunk and is not well
- The laws relating to alcohol
- Where to go for advice and the importance of talking about alcohol consumption with their family
- How to avoid peer pressure
During the lesson pupils are encouraged to actively take part in discussions and to share their opinions and experiences on any issues raised. The lessons are taught by lecturers from the non-profit organisation SANANIM, which has been engaged in preventive activities in the field of addiction since 1992.
The programme is supported by a website which was launched in April 2009. In mid-2014 it was updated and was merged with the Drinkwise website. Also, a primary schools database was created for the 620 primary schools in the Czech Republic to keep track of schools that have taken part.
In 2020, it was decided to end lessons in schools and to create an on-line version. The first working version was created in 2021 in cooperation with famous Czech YouTuber Delphin Adolphine. The online lessons have the same content as the onsite lessons.
Delphine Adolphine (YouTuber)
The online version was tested in 20 schools in 2021.
In the 2019 - 2020 school year 15,983 pupils were reached. As of June 2020 more than 100,000 students taken part in lessons.
In the 2018 - 2019 school year 16,781 pupils were reached. A record! In the 2016 - 2017 school year 13,841 pupils were reached. In the 2015 - 2016 school year 12,000 pupils in 600 classes at 200 primary schools were reached. In the 2014 - 2015 school year 500 lessons were given and 44 classes had a lesson as part of a wider responsible drinking campaign (Alkohol zodpovědně!). Since 2009, more than 27,000 pupils in 1,482 classes throughout the Czech Republic have been taught. In the 2013 - 2014 school year over 3,000 students from 396 classes in 156 schools were reached. Due to the popularity of the programme, the demand for lessons was greater than the capacity to supply them.
For the number of visits to the website see the “Drinkwise” page. The Youtube video has had over 937,000 views (until January 2022).
Measurement & evaluation
The WHO International Study on Health Behavior in School-aged Children (HBSC), published in May 2020, shows that among children aged 11, 13 and 15, the number of alcohol drinkers decreased between 2014 and 2018 by an average of 8%. The most significant decrease - up to double digits - occurred in the group of eleven-year-old children.
An evaluation in January 2018 (2,800 responses: 28% of total number of pupils who took part) showed that 93% knew the legal purchase age for alcohol and 77% knew to call the emergency services if someone becomes unconscious after drinking too much alcohol. The programme is also very well known in schools and pupils are very interested in taking part.
Results of the 2014 evaluation (502 pupils, average age of 12: 263 boys, 239 girls. Gender did not play any significant role in uptake of the presentation content) showed that 75% said they had understood the lesson; 58% believed that the lesson helped them reconsider alcohol issues and 33% said that the lesson had helped them change their attitudes towards alcohol. The website was also evaluated and a list of recommendations for improvement was presented by the authors of the evaluation.
A survey by ForumPSR in 2014 showed that 83% of children aged 11–15 have already drank alcohol, including over 65% of 11-year-olds. 68% first drank alcohol with their parents, 25% with friends and 6% alone. 28% of 11–15 year-olds did not discuss drinking alcohol with their parents at all, those who did talk to their parents about alcohol were much more prudent about drinking alcohol and know more about the health risks of drinking it.
The 2010 evaluation took place in two parts: a questionnaire and evaluation of the website. Results were evaluated by an independent body (Charles University, Prague: experts Doc. PhDr Michal Miovský, Ph.D., PhDr Roman Gabrhelík) and were published by the SCAN Association in October 2010. The questionnaire was drafted and collected by the lecturers after the presentation and contained a total of 10 questions about school and alcohol and the pupils’ opinion of the programme. 391 pupils (222 boys, 169 girls with an average age of 12-13) took part. Results of the questionnaire show that 73% knew that the school had rules about alcohol, almost 20% didn’t know and 7% thought that there were none. Of those who knew about the rules, 59% agreed with them, 31% did not fully agree with them and 10% disagreed with them. 61% perceived the atmosphere at school as a safe place for discussion about drugs, whilst 38% thought it was not. 48% knew that there were adults at school with whom they could talk freely about legal or illegal drugs whilst 23% thought there was no-one and 28% didn’t know. 83% thought the lesson was mostly easy or easy to understand. 68% felt they had learnt something during the lesson. 54% felt the lesson was amusing or mostly amusing. 54% stated that the lesson led them to think more about alcohol. 46% stated that the lesson had led to a change of views about alcohol.
The website was evaluated in March 2010 by using the Hunter Expert Evaluation tool for websites and by experts and university students. The technical side, graphical quality and content/quality were evaluated. The study concludes that the website is useful for the target groups and is very close to the Harm Reduction principle an area which has been largely neglected in the Czech Republic. The website could be one of the pioneering projects.