“Let’s talk about alcohol” programme aims at preventing alcohol use in youth

People sitting outside and smiling

Young people’s consumption of alcohol in the Nordic countries has become more responsible in the 2000s (source: Finland’s National Institute for Health and Welfare, ESPAD 2015). This represents the kind of positive long-term development that Altia wants to support.

Altia promotes the development of young people’s responsible alcohol consumption and delayed experimentation with alcohol through a school programme. The “Let’s talk about alcohol” programme, based on studies and research, is available for secondary and upper secondary students in Finland and Sweden. The programme tries to provide young people with the means to resist peer pressure and teaches students how to say no to alcohol. The teaching model is based on group dynamics, role play, discussions and evaluations.

Programme available in eight European countries

Some 75% of Sweden’s secondary and upper secondary schools have ordered the material. The programme is available in eight European countries, and 700,000 young people have participated in it so far. “Let’s talk about alcohol” has undergone scientific assessment by the Karolinska Institutet. The programme is also assessed every two years with the help of a user survey.

The programme’s short-term effects were investigated by a study conducted in 2010, which covered both young people participating in the programme and control classes.

Results of the studies

The study revealed that the students in the intervention classes had reduced their alcohol consumption.

A long-term follow-up study was conducted among seventh to ninth graders in 2014–2017. This study included 20 schools, 40 classes and 600 students. Some of the classes were intervention classes, and there were some control classes. The study was led by psychologist Associate Professor Anders Tengström of the Karolinska Institutet.

According to the study, the “Let’s talk about alcohol” programme reduces alcohol-related risk behaviour in youth. The programme was particularly beneficial for the boys in the intervention classes: their experiences of being intoxicated were lower than among the boys in the control classes. There were also statistical indicators according to which the boys in the intervention classes who had not yet used alcohol were better able to refuse to experiment with alcohol. In addition, negative consequences related to alcohol use halved among the girls who participated in the programme.  

A recent survey, conducted in 2019, examined the opinions of the teachers who apply the programme. Of the respondents, 59% were of the opinion that the programme could help young people to delay their experiments with alcohol, and 74% of the respondents believed that the programme built a more responsible attitude towards alcohol among young people. 93% of the respondents would be willing to recommend the programme to their colleagues.