Drugs and alcohol

Illicit drug use and unsafe drinking have consequences for the health, safety and wellbeing of individuals and communities. The impacts can include addiction and illness, road accidents and assaults, injuries and fatalities, family breakdown, financial insecurity and homelessness. Drug and alcohol problems often co-occur with other issues, including gambling and mental health issues.

As well as law enforcement, responses include prevention and harm reduction. Achieving change requires collaboration between governments, industry, the non-government sector and the broader community.

Initiatives include awareness-raising campaigns, regulation and pricing mechanisms, legislation to tackle alcohol-fuelled violence, school-based drug and alcohol education, early intervention programs for those at risk, counselling and support services, and access to treatment.


Project examples

Click on any of the following projects for more information.

Mandatory Alcohol Interlock Program Evaluation Framework

(Transport for NSW, 2015)

Mandatory Alcohol Interlock Program Evaluation Framework

(Transport for NSW, 2015)

The NSW Government legislated that serious and repeat drink drive offenders be ordered to place an alcohol interlock device on their family or work vehicles. This is a complex multi-component program being delivered in partnership by Transport for NSW, Roads and Maritime Services, police, courts and general practitioners. ARTD designed the evaluation framework to guide future evaluation studies and identify the performance information needed to regularly monitor the effectiveness of delivery, take-up and drop-out rates and the impact of the program on repeat drink driving rates in NSW.

Evaluation of the NSW Government's Kings Cross Plan of Management

(Office of Liquor Gaming and Racing, 2015)

Evaluation of the NSW Government's Kings Cross Plan of Management

(Office of Liquor Gaming and Racing, 2015)

The Kings Cross Plan of Management includes a comprehensive set of measures introduced by the NSW Government in December 2012 and December 2013 to reduce alcohol related violence and improve safety and amenity in Kings Cross. ARTD evaluated the impact of these measures for the NSW Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing through analysis of data from the Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research, licensee compliance data, interviews with key stakeholders, survey of Kings Cross licensees, interviews with selected licensees, and surveys of Kings Cross residents and patrons of Kings Cross licenced venues. A final report synthesised the findings to provide conclusions about the impact of the Kings Cross Plan of Management.

Evaluation of alcohol education program for young people caught drinking

(NSW Police, 2013)

Evaluation of alcohol education program for young people caught drinking

(NSW Police, 2013)

The Your Choice program provides young people caught drinking and their parents the choice to attend an information session instead of paying a fine. The program aims to reduce dangerous drinking by raising young people’s awareness of strategies to avoid risks and challenging their perceptions of the prevalence and desirability of underage and heavy episodic drinking. It also aims to increase parents’ sense of responsibility for, and ability to act on, their child’s drinking. The program was introduced in 16 Police local areas commands (LACs) in 2009, and extended to 3 more. NSW Police developed a web-based alternative to address perceived inefficiencies and disincentives inherent in the face-to-face sessions for trial in six LACs in 2013. ARTD was engaged to evaluate the program using a mixed-method approach. We drew on monitoring data, Google analytics data, surveys and focus groups of participants, and consultation with police and health workers. Based on the evidence we provided, NSW Police are updating the program and rolling it out statewide. They are also using our report to inform interagency policy discussions about youth alcohol diversion.

Evaluation of conference for regional drug education consultants

(NSW Department of Education and Communities, 2011)

Evaluation of conference for regional drug education consultants

(NSW Department of Education and Communities, 2011)

ARTD evaluated the Department’s professional development conference, Plan, Pitch and Promote, for regional drug education consultants. The conference aimed to provide consultants with information from current research and skills in marketing their services to schools. We held semi-structured interviews with the eight regional drug education consultants who attended the conference and conducted a focus group with the four State Office conference organisers. The results presented in the evaluation assisted the Department to refine the delivery of professional development to regional drug education consultants.

Evaluation of an online cannabis education tool

(NSW Department of Education and Training, 2011)

Evaluation of an online cannabis education tool

(NSW Department of Education and Training, 2011)

The Department developed an online interactive game as a resource for teachers educating students about cannabis and its effects. In 2009, about 220 students across ten schools in NSW tested the game. ARTD was contracted to evaluate the suitability and acceptance of the game among the participating schools. We surveyed all participating students before and after they played the game to test changes in knowledge. We also held focus groups and interviews with students, teachers and executive staff to assess their satisfaction with the game and its overall utility. Our report provided the Department with recommendations for design improvements.

Process evaluation of pilot drug prevention professional development for teachers

(NSW Department of Education and Communities, 2011)

Process evaluation of pilot drug prevention professional development for teachers

(NSW Department of Education and Communities, 2011)

Drug Prevention: Learning Though Action was piloted IN 2010 with 16 teachers in 11 schools in NSW. It used an action enquiry approachto drug prevention professional development for teachers. ARTD was engaged to conduct a process evaluation of the pilot to help the Department make refinements before it was offered more widely. We conducted semi-structured interviews with 12 teachers, 6 principals and 2 drug education consultants to understand their experiences of the pilot. Our report assessed the appropriateness of the professional development approach and how teachers responded, and identified potential improvements to delivery.

Facilitation of Precinct Liquor Accord meetings

(Office of Liquor Gaming and Racing, 2011)

Facilitation of Precinct Liquor Accord meetings

(Office of Liquor Gaming and Racing, 2011)

The NSW Government introduced Precinct Liquor Accords to improve the vibrancy, attractiveness, and amenity of high-risk areas and reduce alcohol related violence and anti-social behaviour. They build on voluntary local liquor accords by requiring participation of late night trading licensed venues in designated areas. ARTD was commissioned to facilitate a series of meetings with mandatory participants in Sydney and Newcastle/ Hamilton precincts and other key stakeholders. The first meetings in each precinct were to identify risks and strategies that could be included in Precinct Liquor Accords, the second meetings were for stakeholders to vote on strategies. Our reports for each precinct informed the Precinct Liquor Accords.