Australian schools are experiencing a revolution in alcohol education thanks to Smashed, an award-winning program for Years 8, 9 and 10 students.
Since its Australian debut in 2018, the program has reached over 240,000 students at more than 700 schools nationwide.
And importantly, the program is changing behaviour, with 95 per cent of students globally saying they are less likely to drink underage as a result of taking part in Smashed.
Smashed caters to the unique needs of teachers and students with live performances in schools and an online program. The live program offers an interactive in-person theatre experience, followed by a workshop, while the e-learning program is an engaging, film-based course, with both teacher and student-led versions available so teachers have flexibility to access the program in the way that best meets their needs.
Teachers from every state and territory in Australia have welcomed Smashed into their schools, capitalising on its alignment with both state and national curriculums.
In a recent move to amplify its reach, Smashed launched a revamped website, streamlining access for educators looking for this free resource.
Facilitated by Gibber Educational and sponsored by Diageo Australia, Smashed offers a dynamic and engaging approach to alcohol awareness, aiming to arm young people with the facts, skills and confidence to make informed choices around alcohol.
Integral to its success, Smashed was created in collaboration with young people and the interactive performance format allows students to more easily grasp the causes and consequences of underage drinking.
In addition to reducing underage drinking among students, the program’s latest impact report shows 92 per cent of students think Smashed is a good way to learn about the dangers of underage drinking.
As a result of the program, there’s also been a 25 per cent increase in the number of students able to demonstrate knowledge of where to get help locally on issues related to alcohol.
"The Smashed program is an engaging way to help students understand underage drinking risks. We aim to reduce underage drinking rates by empowering young people with the essential skills and knowledge about alcohol," Gibber Educational Director Tim Watt said.
The 60-minute live performance or e-learning course encourages students to interact with characters and think about what they would do differently in scenarios where there are adverse outcomes from underage alcohol consumption.
The initiative continues its work at a crucial juncture — with The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare's latest figures indicating a rise in the number of young Australians refraining from alcohol. While this is a positive shift, it underscores the continuous need for programs such as Smashed to instil awareness about the potential dangers of underage drinking.
Teachers have been generous in their appreciation of the program. Teacher Rochelle Dawson from Sunshine Beach High School in Queensland lauded the program, saying: "The performance was engaging and very relevant. It's an excellent avenue to explore these themes." This sentiment is echoed by educators across the country.
Darren Myer, who hosted the program for his Year 10 students at Leeming Senior High School in WA said: “The students had a blast and I can honestly say that was the best presentation I've seen from an external organisation. The staff were so impressed by how engaging and relatable the team were and I went around to the students later in the day and they said to me that they all loved it.”
Diageo Australia Managing Director Angus McPherson said: "Diageo Australia is resolute in its commitment to curbing underage drinking and minimising alcohol-induced harm in society. Smashed underlines our efforts to achieve the World Health Organisation’s goal of cutting harmful drinking by 10 per cent by 2025."
With its innovative approach, Smashed remains at the forefront of alcohol education in Australia, driving change one performance at a time.
Smashed is delivered for free and is available to every school in Australia.
[1 & 2] Smashed Project Global Annual Evaluation, 2019-2020. Data based on a sample of 79,000 completed pre-and post-program questionnaires collated from 15 different ‘Smashed’ programs delivered in 2019-2020 across Africa, the Americas, Asia Pacific and Europe.
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