Playlist teacher guide - Alcohol & other drugs

Playlist information

Playlist summary

This playlist explores the role alcohol can play in decision making particularly in relation to sexual decision making and consent.

Playlist purpose

The content of this playlist supports students to:

  • Understand the effects of alcohol on the body and strategies for drinking responsibly and safely.
  • Propose strategies to act responsibly and respectfully when they or people around them are drinking alcohol.

Please note that some third party websites may not operate in all internet browers. If you're having difficulty accessing a site, try using alternative browsers (such as Chrome) in the first instance. If you're still unable to access the site, contact us.

Learning objectives

  • Know the laws related to consent in relation to physically intimate encounters and online behaviours such as sharing of images and where to seek accurate information, advice and support.
  • Understand that consent is a complex area and it is each individual’s responsibility within the situation to ensure they are being clear about whether they are giving and receiving consent from the others involved.
  • Propose practical and realistic ways to behave ethically in relationships to ensure all encounters are consensual.
  • Identify cues in real-life situations and practical and realistic ways to communicate when consent is and isn't being given.
  • Identify practical ways that a bystander can intervene if they are concerned about whether a situation is consensual or not.

Key messages

  • You need to be 18 years or older to drink alcohol.
  • There are strict laws around who can give consent and how consent is given and it is an individual’s responsibility to ensure they have full consent.
  • If someone is too intoxicated or affected by other substances to drive, then they are unable to give or gain consent.
  • If a person says ‘yes’ but they were too frightened to say no, then it is not consent.
  • When dealing with situations or issues about consent it’s always important to double check that you are reading it right

Year level(s) appropriate for

Year 10, Year 11, Year 12

Australian curriculum links

Investigate how empathy and ethical decision making contribute to respectful relationships.

Propose, practise and evaluate responses in situations where external influences may impact on their ability to make healthy and safe choices.

Plan, rehearse and evaluate options (including CPR and first aid) for managing situations where their own or others’ health, safety and wellbeing may be at short or long-term risk.

Media items

The effects of alcohol

Type: Page.

Duration: 6 minutes.

Source: The Good Society.

Summary: Why does alcohol affect us the way that it does? And how does that explain how it fits into our society?

Survey questions:

  1. Question number 1. Do you think young people in Australia have a problem with alcohol? Answers
    1. a.Yes
    2. b.No
    3. c.Only some population groups
    Discussion points:

    The 2016 National Drug Strategy Household Survey found that 77.8 per cent of 12–17 year-olds have never had a full serve of alcohol. It also found that 1.4 per cent of 12–17 year-olds drink weekly (while for the 18–24 age group, the figure is 28.7 per cent). It is important to emphasise that young people are not all drinking alcohol regularly or in big quantities. However, there are some groups of young people who are regular users that are drinking at dangerous levels. The safest level of alcohol consumption for teenagers is no drinking, especially for young people under 15 years of age. But if older teenagers do drink alcohol, they can minimise the risks by ensuring there is adult supervision and encouraging consumption within the adult guideline for low-risk drinking (two standard drinks in any one day).

    Alcohol impairs judgement. Teenagers are more likely to engage in unsafe sexual practices (such as having sexual intercourse without a condom) when they have been drinking.

    Risks associated with unsafe sex include:

    • exposure to sexually transmissible infections (STIs)
    • unwanted sex and/ or sexual assault
    • possible pregnancy.

    To explore the values and beliefs that young people attach to alcohol use discuss the following questions:

    • To what level is alcohol use socially acceptable in your family, peer group, community?
    • Are there any behaviours that are tolerated or excused when alcohol is involved that may not be tolerated in other circumstances?
    • What kind of cultural values would you want your social groups to have around alcohol?

Drink Drank Drunk

Type: Web.

Duration: 10 minutes.

Source: The Conversation. ()

Summary: This page has a series of short animations that summarise the biochemistry of alcohol, like why eating food affects the absorption of alcohol, and how the size of the ethanol molecule means it can affect your brain.

Survey questions:

  1. Question number 1. Is it possible to have a good time with alcohol and it not get out of hand? Answers
    1. a.Yes
    2. b.No
    3. c.Depends who you are with
    Discussion points:

    Alcohol makes us feel increasing pleasure and relaxation as we drink more, while simultaneously hampering both our ability to make decisions and even move capably, which can lead to dangerous consequences. When it comes to making healthy and safe decisions, alcohol can impair our capacity significantly. However, there are things that we can do if we choose to drink alcohol that can reduce its impact on us physical, emotionally and psychologically.

    To explore these further, discuss the following questions:

    • What strategies can people use to reduce the level of intoxication they experience when drinking alcohol? E.g. ensure they have eaten, drink plenty of water, pace the number of drinks consumed, don’t get involved in drinking games.
    • How can you look out for your friends if they look like they are becoming intoxicated?
    • What signals might tell you that someone is getting to a point where they might make a bad decision because of alcohol?

Social norms around alcohol

Type: Page.

Duration: 6 minutes.

Source: The Good Society.

Summary: A lot of the effect of alcohol comes not from alcohol itself, but from our social norms and expectations. What are some harmful norms around alcohol? And what would be more helpful norms to replace them?

Survey questions:

  1. Question number 1. Have you seen any evidence that some of these unhelpful social norms exist in your community? Answers
    1. a.Yes
    2. b.No
    Discussion points:

    Social drinking is a big part of the Australian culture. Having a glass of wine or beer in a social setting is a popular way to spend time with friends.

    To explore the norms associated with drinking in your local community that are influencing young people, discuss the following questions:

    • Which of the unhelpful norms do you feel are accepted in your local community?
    • Are there particular groups who are accepting of these norms or is it across the board?
    • Where do you think these norms come from? How were they established?
    • How could you as young people challenge these norms and create more helpful norms for you and your peers?

Alcohol and the Field Model

Type: Page.

Duration: 4 minutes.

Source: The Good Society.

Summary: How does alcohol affect the way we navigate consent? This page looks at alcohol through the Field Model lens, and how we can plan ahead to compensate for its effects.

Survey questions:

  1. Question number 1. How useful do you think the Field Model would be if you were in a situation where alcohol was involved? Answers
    1. a.Super useful
    2. b.Kind of useful
    3. c.Not useful
    4. d.Depends on who else was drinking
    5. e.I don’t know
    Discussion points:

    One of the biggest consequences of drinking too much is the effect alcohol has on a person’s decision making abilities. The Field Model gives people an easy to follow framework that can help them to make safe and respectful decisions when perhaps their brain is a bit foggy because they’ve had too much to drink.

    To explore the Field Model and alcohol further discuss the following questions:

    • What aspects of the Field Model can help you notice the important aspects of a decision that you might miss if you were drunk and trying to process it?
    • What aspects of the Field Model would be most effected by being drunk?

Alcohol and the law

Type: Page.

Duration: 3 minutes.

Source: The Good Society.

Summary: Alcohol is significant enough that we have all sorts of laws about it. Who can buy it? Who can sell it? What can you do when you’re drinking it? There are laws for all people under 18.

Survey questions:

  1. Question number 1. Which of these laws do you think prevents our society from the greatest harm? Choose one. Answers
    1. a.You need to be 18 years or older to drink
    2. b.You can’t be drunk in public
    3. c.Only licensed stores can sell alcohol
    4. d.You can’t drive or operate heavy machinery when drunk
    5. e.You can’t give consent when drunk
    6. f.Don’t know
    Discussion points:

    To explore the specific laws for your state or territory in relation to young people and alcohol go to the Youth Law Australia website and select your jurisdiction in the top right hand corner of this page.

Alcohol & other drugs - Wrap-up

Type: Page.

Duration: 1 minute.

Source: The Good Society.

Summary: Review the major points of the Alcohol and Other Drugs playlist in this wrap-up.

Activities and extras

Role-play ideas

The conversations generated through engaging with this playlist could be built upon and reinforced using role plays, scenarios or group activities that allow students to practise and refine strategies for:

  • Refusing drinks and standing up to pressure from their peers to drink
  • Using the Field Model as a framework for making respectful decisions when using alcohol
  • Dealing with situations where alcohol is impacting on their own or others ability to be safe and respectful.

Positive Choices website

We recommend the Positive Choices drug-education website from the Department of Health. It has lots of evidence-based resources for students, parents and teachers, including factsheets, webinars, games and apps, and links to recommended classroom and curriculum programs. You will find resources that you can incorporate into your lessons, or you might find it a useful site to direct students to independently.

Stanford sexual assault victim impact statement

In 2015 a young woman was sexually assaulted on a college campus. Her assailant was caught, went to trial and found guilty, but his sentence caused a controversy for being arguably way too lenient. This link is a statement the victim read in court, detailing the harm the assailant caused her. (It is quite graphic and upsetting, so is recommended for use under teacher guidance, not as an independent resource.)

You can use this statement to talk about many of the themes discussed in this playlist and the rest of Y10-12 program.

  • Was the victim responsible for what happened to her because she had been drinking? (No. The crime is the action taken by the assailant.)
  • Was Turner not responsible because he had been drinking? (No. He had intentions of targeting someone, and he carried them out. He was fully capable of identifying someone, leading them out, assaulting them, and then running off when caught. He clearly knew what he was doing was wrong.)
  • Why might she have gotten so blackout drunk? (She hadn’t eaten, and underestimated her own capacity.)
  • Did the alcohol make him do anything? What does the victim think about this? (She is very clear that he had choice.)
  • How significant was the harm? (It is life-altering and debilitating.)
  • Is that degree of trauma surprising to anyone? (Boys in particular might not be able to imagine the impacts, but also girls.)
  • How did the legal system handle the case? (Although we describe in TGS what we believe is a current consensus around how to approach this kind of issue, actual court cases still play out differently all around the world. Here we can see the standard arguments playing out: who had agency, who had responsibility, how serious is this really, for whom, etc. Students are right to speculate about what is fair, because there is a lot of controversy around that.)