Positive Choices is an online portal to help school communities access accurate, up-to-date drug education resources and prevention programs.
Research suggests the teenage years are when alcohol and other drug use are first initiated. This highlights the importance of intervening early with young people to prevent drug use uptake and associated harms. School staff and parents can play an important role in protecting young people from drug-related harms and empowering them to make positive choices. Teachers, school counsellors and parents are also the primary sources of contact for young people seeking advice or help for drug use issues, thus it is crucial they are equipped with accurate information and evidence-based harm prevention strategies.
To meet this need, the Australian Government Department of Health funded the development of Positive Choices, an online portal that recognises cultural diversity and provides access to interactive evidence-based drug education resources for school communities. Positive Choices was informed by input from teachers, parents and students across Australia, and was developed in collaboration by researchers from:
Watch this video to hear the Positive Choices story:
In 2014, Positive Choices was recognised by the Australian Rotary Health Knowledge Dissemination Award at the Society for Mental Health Research Conference. The award was for excellence in bridging the gap between knowledge gained through research and the dissemination of that knowledge to clinicians, consumers and carers, and its implementation into policy and practice.
In 2017, Positive Choices was awarded the Mental Health Promotion and Wellbeing Mental Health Matters Award as part of Mental Health Month. The awards are to acknowledge work to improve understanding, awareness, service provision and the general mental health of communities in NSW over the past year.
The Positive Choices team would like to thank the many teachers, parents and students from around the country who generously provided their input and feedback during the development of this resource. Here are some of the things they had to say about Positive Choices:
- “It had extensive information. It addressed so many aspects of drug and alcohol usage - facts and information that I may not have thought about addressing myself.” —Parent
- “The whole portal is honestly one of the best, most informative, wide ranging and also easiest to use sites that I have encountered. I shall be sharing this site with my whole school staff and also my friends to help them with their parenting issues. Overall…10/10!” —Teacher
- “This is a great resource. Its primary value is in bringing together all of these resources in an accessible manner.” —Teacher
Positive Choices acknowledges the Traditional Owners of the lands on which we work and conduct our research. We pay our respects to ancestors and Elders, past, present and future, and are committed to honouring Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples’ unique cultural and spiritual relationships to the land, waters and seas.
We also acknowledge the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who have contributed to the development of Positive Choices, as members of our research team, expert advisory group and Aboriginal students, parents and teachers who have provided input to guide development of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander portal and resources. We acknowledge our partner organisation in this work, Gilimbaa, and the Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal experts from the following organisations who provided their expert input: