SHAHRP: School Health and Alcohol Harm Reduction Project


National Drug Research Institute, Curtin University.


Conducted in classrooms over two years (teacher administered):

  • Phase 1 (Year 8): 8 × 60-minute lessons
  • Phase 2 (Year 9): 5 × 50-minute lessons and a DVD.

 Training: Two days teacher training ideal prior to each phase.


SHAHRP is a classroom based program aimed at reducing alcohol-related harm and risky consumption. It is designed to be implemented at a time when prevalence data indicates that young people are starting to experiment with alcohol. The SHAHRP activities incorporate various strategies for interaction including delivery of utility information; skill rehearsal; individual and small group decision making; and discussions based on scenarios suggested by students, with an emphasis on identifying alcohol-related harm and strategies to reduce harm. Interactive involvement is emphasised, with two-thirds of activities being primarily interactive and another 15% requiring some interaction between students.

The SHAHRP program was developed with students and teachers and reflects the life experiences of young people, while also fitting well within the school curriculum. The program is culturally adaptable and behavioural results have been replicated in Northern Ireland and in Brazil providing strong proof of evidence.


  • Reduced alcohol consumption
  • Delayed and reduced rate of growth in alcohol use
  • Reduced binge-drinking
  • Reduced alcohol-related harms
  • Increased alcohol knowledge
  • Safer alcohol-related attitudes.

Evidence Base

Benefits of the SHAHRP program have been demonstrated in multiple trials conducted in Australia, Northern Ireland and Brazil. For a full list of publications, please visit the National Drug Research Institute website.

McKay, M. T., Sumnall, H., McBride, N. and Harvey, S. (2014). The differential impact of a classroom-based alcohol harm reduction intervention on adolescents with different alcohol use experiences: a multi-level growth modelling analysis. Journal of Adolescence, 37, 1057-1067.

McKay, M. T., McBride, N. T., Sumnall, H. R., and Cole, J. C. (2012). Reducing the harm from adolescent alcohol consumption: results from an adapted version of SHAHRP in Northern Ireland. Journal of Substance Use, 17, 98-121. 

McBride, N., Farringdon, F., Midford, R., Meuleners, L., & Phillips, M. (2004). Harm minimization in school drug education: final results of the School Health and Alcohol Harm Reduction Project (SHAHRP). Addiction, 99, 278-291. 

McBride, N., Farringdon, F., Midford, R., Meuleners, L., & Phillips, M. (2003). Early unsupervised drinking - reducing the risks. The School Health and Alcohol Harm Reduction Project. Drug and Alcohol Review, 22, 263-276.

The SHAHRP program received a two-star rating from the National Centre for Education and Training on Addiction (NCETA) following their comprehensive systematic review of alcohol education programs

Page last reviewed: 8 November 2019.