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Leading research and development methodology

Our school-based alcohol and drug prevention courses are the result of decades of research, development, evaluation, and refinement to ensure their continuing effectiveness.

The prevention programs are co-designed with young people and teachers, ensuring students immerse themselves in the stories and develop skills they can apply to their lives.

Explore Our Prevention Programs

Modern wisdom. Modernised delivery.

Cartoon imagery, language, and relatable storylines based on young people’s experiences.

Our alcohol and drug prevention courses reflect the latest evidence and health information while maintaining the core components that have proven effectiveness in extensive clinical trials.

Teachers receive unit plans that map content to the Australian Health and Physical Education and state-based curricula.

Voiceovers support lower literacy and vision-impaired students, in addition to a multilingual translation tool and screen reader on all website pages.

Online activities, class discussion prompts, and worksheets complement interactive lessons.

Latest topics, including vaping prevention, respond to critical school education needs.

Proven to influence positive choices

Clinical research proves that our alcohol and drug prevention courses positively influence young people to make decisions for the benefit of their physical and mental wellbeing and futures.

The critical importance of clinical trials

For over two decades the researchers behind the OurFutures programs have been dedicated to establishing the efficacy of the OurFutures programs through focus groups, pilot studies, and eight large randomised controlled trials (RCTs), including over 21,000 students from 240 schools across Australia.

Using evidence-based practices ensures that our programs are reliable and clinically proven to make a long-lasting positive difference in the lives, health, and futures of our young people.

Published, peer-reviewed outcomes

The primary outcomes of our RCTs are published in leading peer-reviewed academic journals, and the programs are made available to all schools once they are proven effective. This process takes years of hard work, planning, and dedication. For more information about the research behind our programs, visit our blog article.

Meet the Team

Student Benefits

The evidence

The effectiveness of our Alcohol and Drug Prevention Courses has been established in eight large randomised controlled trials, including over 21,000 students from 240 schools across Australia. The OurFutures Program was evaluated, and the evidence published using our previous name, Climate Schools.

Publications: Student Alcohol Prevention Program

  • Vogl, L. E., & Teesson, M. (2006). The efficacy of a computerised school based prevention program for problems with alcohol use: Climate Schools. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 30, 198A.
  • Vogl, L., Teesson, M., Andrews, G., Bird, K., Steadman, M., & Dillon, P. (2009). A computerised harm minimisation prevention program for alcohol misuse and related harms: randomised controlled trial. Addiction. 104, 564-575. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1360-0443.2009.02510.x
  • Newton, N. C., Vogl, L. E., Teesson, M., Andrews, G. (2009). Climate Schools: Alcohol module: Cross-validation of a school based prevention program for alcohol misuse. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 43, 201-207. https://doi.org/10.1080/00048670802653364
  • Vogl, L.E., M. Teesson., Newton, N. C., & G. Andrews. (2012). Developing a school-based drug prevention program to overcome barriers to effective program implementation: The CLIMATE schools: Alcohol module. Open Journal of Preventive Medicine, 2, 410-422. http://dx.doi.org/10.4236/ojpm.2012.23059

Publications: Student Alcohol & Cannabis Prevention Program

  • Newton, N.C., Andrews, G., Teesson, M., & Vogl, L.E. (2009). Delivering prevention for alcohol and cannabis using the internet: A cluster randomised controlled trial. Preventive Medicine, 48, 579-584. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ypmed.2009.04.009
  • Newton, N. C., Teesson, M., Vogl, L. E., Andrews, G. (2010). Internet-based prevention for alcohol and cannabis use: Final results of the Climate Schools course. Addiction, 105, 749-759. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1360-0443.2009.02853.x
  • Newton, N. C., Vogl, L. E., Teesson, M., & Andrews, G. (2011). Developing the Climate Schools: Alcohol and cannabis module: A harm minimisation, universal drug prevention program facilitated by the internet. Substance Use and Misuse, 46, 1651-1663. https://doi.org/10.3109/10826084.2011.613441
  • Newton, N., Andrews, G., Champion, K., & Teesson, M. (2014). Universal Internet-based prevention for alcohol and cannabis use reduces truancy, psychological distress and moral disengagement: a cluster randomised controlled trial. Preventive Medicine, 65, 109.115. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ypmed.2014.05.003
  • Newton, N. C., Conrod, P., Rodriguez, D., & Teesson, M. (2014). A pilot study of an online universal school-based intervention to prevent alcohol and cannabis use in the U.K. BMJ Open, 4(5). https://doi.org/10.1136%2Fbmjopen-2013-004750
  • Champion, K.E., Newton, N.C., Stapinski, L., Slade, T., Barrett, E.L & Teesson, M. (2016). A cross-validation trial of an Internet-based prevention program for alcohol and cannabis: Preliminary results from a cluster randomised controlled trial. Australian & New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 50(1): 64-73. https://doi.org/10.1177%2F0004867415577435
  • Conroy, C., Champion, K. E., Chapman, C., Slade, T., Thornton, L., Teesson, M., & Newton, N. C. (2020). Adolescents’ Perspectives on Substance Use Prevention: A qualitative study among Australian school students. Mental Health & Prevention, 19, 200183. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.mhp.2020.200183
  • Newton, N.,* Chapman, C.,* Slade, T., Birrell, L., Healy, A., Mather, M., McBride, N., Hides., L., Allsop, S., Mewton, L., Andrews, G., & Teesson, M. (2020). A national effectiveness trial of an eHealth program to prevent alcohol and cannabis misuse: responding to the replication crisis. Psychological Medicine, 1-9. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0033291720001919 (*equally credited authors).

Publications: Cannabis & Psychostimulants Student Prevention Program

  • Vogl, L., Newton, N., Champion, K., & Teesson, M. (2014). A universal harm-minimisation approach to preventing Psychostimulant and cannabis use in adolescents: a cluster randomised controlled trial. Substance Abuse Treatment, Prevention, and Policy, 9(1), 24 https://doi.org/10.1186%2F1747-597X-9-24

Publications: MDMA & Emerging Drugs Student Prevention Program

  • Newton, N. C., Teesson, M., & Newton, K. (2012). Developing the Climate Schools: Ecstasy Module. A Universal Internet-Based Drug Prevention Program. Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, 44(5), 372-380. https://doi.org/10.1080/02791072.2012.736804
  • Champion, K. E., Teesson, M., & Newton, N.C. (2013). A cluster randomised controlled trial of the Climate Schools: Ecstasy and Emerging Drugs Module in Australian secondary schools: study protocol. BMC Public Health, 13(1168). https://doi.org/10.1186%2F1471-2458-13-1168
  • Champion, K. E., Teesson, M. and Newton, N. C. (2015). Development of a Universal Internet-Based Prevention Program for Ecstasy and New Psychoactive Substances. Open Journal of Preventive Medicine, 5(1), 23-30. http://dx.doi.org/10.4236/ojpm.2015.51003
  • Champion, K. E., Newton, N. C, Stapinski, L. & Teesson, M. (2016). Effectiveness of a universal Internet-based prevention program for ecstasy and new psychoactive substances: a cluster randomised controlled trial. Addiction, 111(8): 1396-1405. https://doi.org/10.1111/add.13345
  • Champion, K. E., Teesson, M., Stapinski, L. & Newton, N. C. (2018). Cluster randomised controlled trial of an online intervention to prevent ecstasy and new psychoactive substance use among adolescents: final results and implications for implementation. BMJ Open, 8(11), e020433. https://doi.org/10.1136%2Fbmjopen-2017-020433

Climate & Preventure Study (CAP) Findings

  • Newton, N. C., Teesson, M., Barrett, E. L., Slade, T., & Conrod, P. J. (2012). The CAP study, evaluation of integrated universal and selective prevention strategies for youth alcohol misuse: Study protocol of a cluster randomised controlled trial. BMC Psychiatry, 12, (118). https://doi.org/10.1186%2F1471-244X-12-118
  • Teesson, M., Newton, N. C., Slade, T., Carragher, N., Barrett, E. L., Champion, K. E., Kelly, E. V., Nair, N. K., Stapinski, L. & Conrod, P. (2017). Combined universal and selective prevention for adolescent alcohol use: a cluster randomised controlled trial. Psychological Medicine, 22, 1-10. https://doi.org/10.1017/s0033291717000198
  • Newton, N. C.*, Stapinski, L.*, Slade, T., Champion, K., Barrett, E., Chapman, C., Smout, A., Lawler, S., Mather, M., Castellanous-Ryan, N., Conrod, P., & Teesson, M. (2018). Pathways to prevention: Protocol for the CAP (Climate and Preventure) study to evaluate the long-term effectiveness of a school-based universal, selective and combined alcohol misuse prevention into early adulthood. BMC Public Health, 18, 643. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-018-5554-y (*equally credited first authors)
  • Newton, N. C.*, Teesson, M.*, Mather, M., Champion, K., Barrett., E., Kelly, E., Carragher, N., Conrod, P., & Slade, T. (2018). Universal cannabis outcomes from the Climate and Preventure (CAP) study: A cluster randomised controlled trial. Substance Abuse Treatment Prevention & Policy, 13(1), 34. https://doi.org/10.1186/s13011-018-0171-4 (*equally credited first authors)
  • Newton, N. C., Stapinski, L., Teesson, M., Slade, T., Champion, K. E., Barrett, E. L., Birrell, L., Kelly, E., Mather, M., & Conrod, P. J. (2020). Evaluating the differential effectiveness of social influence and personality-targeted alcohol prevention on mental health outcomes among high-risk youth: A novel cluster randomised controlled factorial design trial. The Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 54(3), 259-271. https://doi.org/10.1177/0004867419877948
  • Slade, T., Newton, N. C., Mather, M., Barrett, E. L., Champion, K. E., Stapinski, L., Conrod, P. J., & Teesson, M. (2021). The long-term effectiveness of universal, selective and combined prevention for alcohol use during adolescence: 36-month outcomes from a cluster randomised controlled trial. Addiction, 116(3), 514-524. https://doi.org/10.1111/add.15178
  • Newton, N.,* Stapinski, L.*, Slade, T., Sunderland, M., Barrett, E., Champion, K. Chapman, C., Smout, A., Lawler, S., Mather, M., Debenham, J. Castellanous-Ryan, N., Conrod, P., & Teesson, M. (2022). The 7-year effectiveness of school-based alcohol use prevention from adolescence to early adulthood: An RCT of universal, selective and combined interventions. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 61(4), 520-532. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jaac.2021.10.023 (*equally credited first authors).

The Climate Schools Combined (CSC) Study, Evaluating the Long-Term Effectiveness of School-Based Prevention Programs for Youth Substance Misuse, Depression, and Anxiety

  • Van Vliet, H., & Andrews, G. (2008). An internet based course for management of stress for junior high schools. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 43(4): 305-309. https://doi.org/10.1080/00048670902721145
  • Wong, N., Kady, L., Mewton, L., Sunderland, M., & Andrews, G. (2014). Preventing anxiety and depression in adolescents: A randomised controlled trial of two school based Internet-delivered cognitive behavioural therapy programmes. Internet Interventions, 1: 90-94. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.invent.2014.05.004
  • Teesson, M., Newton, N. C., Slade, T., Chapman, C., Tonks, Z., Birrell, L., Allsop, S., McBride, N., Hides, L., Mewton, L. (2014). The Climate Schools Combined study: a cluster randomised controlled trial of a universal Internet-based prevention program for youth substance misuse, depression and anxiety. BMC Psychiatry, 14 (1). https://doi.org/10.1186/1471-244x-14-32
  • Birrell, L.*, Newton, N. C.*, Slade, T., Chapman, C., Mewton, L., McBride, N., Hides, L., Chatterton, M., Allsop, S., Healy, A., Mather, M., Quinn, C., Mihalopoulos, C., & Teesson, M. (2018). Evaluating the Long-Term Effectiveness of School-Based Depression, Anxiety, and Substance Use Prevention Into Young Adulthood: Protocol for the Climate School Combined Study. JMIR Research Protocols, 7(11), e11372. https://doi.org/10.2196/11372 (*equally credited first authors)
  • Newton, N.,*, Teesson, M.,* Slade, T., Chapman, C., Birrell, L., Mewton, L., Mather, M., Hides, L., McBride, N., Allsop, S., Andrews, G. (2020). Combined prevention for substance use, depression and anxiety in adolescence: A cluster randomised controlled trial of a digital online intervention. Lancet Digital Health, 2(2), 1-13. https://doi.org/10.1016/S2589-7500(19)30213-4 (*equally credited first authors).
  • Andrews, J.L., Birrell, L., Chapman, C., Teesson, M., Newton, N., Allsop, S., McBride, N., Hides, L., Andrews, G., Olsen, N., Mewton, L.*, & Slade, T.* (2022). Evaluating the effectiveness of a universal eHealth school-based prevention program for depression and anxiety, and the moderating role of friendship network characteristics. Psychological Medicine. https://doi.org/10.1017/s0033291722002033 (*joint senior author)

Climate Schools Plus (CSP) Study: An Online, Combined Student and Parent, Universal Drug & Alcohol Prevention Program

  • Thornton, L., Chapman, C., Leidl, D., Conroy, C., Teesson, M., Slade, T., Koning, I., Champion, K., Stapinski, L., & Newton, N. (2018). Climate Schools Plus: An online, combined student and parent, universal drug prevention program. Internet Interventions, 12, 36-45. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.invent.2018.03.007
  • Newton, N. C.*, Chapman, C.*, Slade, T., Conroy, C., Thornton, L., Champion, K., Stapinski, L., Koning, I., & Teesson, M. (2018). Internet-based universal prevention for students and parents to prevent alcohol and cannabis use among adolescents: Protocol for the randomised controlled trial of Climate Schools Plus. JMIR Research Protocols, 7(8), e10849. https://doi.org/10.2196/10849 (*equally credited first authors)

Other Research by our Institute

  • Teesson, M., Newton, N. C., & Barrett, E. L. (2012). Australian school-based prevention programs for alcohol and other drugs: a systematic review. Drug and Alcohol Review, 31(6), 731-736. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1465-3362.2012.00420.x
  • Champion, K. E., Newton, N. C., & Barrett, E. L. (2013). A systematic review of school-based alcohol and other drug prevention programs facilitated by computers or the Internet. Drug and Alcohol Review, 32(2), 115-123. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1465-3362.2012.00517.x
  • Champion, K. E., Newton, N. C & Teesson, M. (2016). Prevention of alcohol and other drug use and related harm in the digital age: What does the evidence tell us? Current Opinion in Psychiatry, 29(4), 242-249. https://doi.org/10.1097/yco.0000000000000258

Significant Grants and Fellowships

The development and evaluation of OurFutures Institute’s Student Prevention Programs was made possible through a number of research grants and fellowships awarded to Professor Teesson, Professor Newton, Dr Champion, Dr Vogl, Professor Andrews, and their colleagues at the University of Sydney and the University of New South Wales.

  • 2019-2023: Alcohol & Drug Prevention Program development for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students – National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC)
  • 2019-2020: Positive Choices Alcohol & Drug Prevention Program development and trial for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students – Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care
  • 2018-2020: Strong & Deadly Futures Alcohol and Drug Prevention Program development and trial for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students – Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care
  • 2018-2022: Upscaling Climate Schools as OurFutures – The Paul Ramsay Foundation
  • 2018-2022: Health4Life Program development and trial – National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC)
  • 2018-2022: Health4Life Program development and trial – The Paul Ramsay Foundation
  • 2018-2022: Long-term follow-up study – Australian Rotary Health (ARH)
  • 2018-2022: The Climate Schools Combined (CSC) long-term trial – National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC)
  • 2018-2020: Alcohol & Cannabis Program phase 3 development and trial – Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care
  • 2017-2019: The Climate and Preventure (CAP) long-term study and trial – National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC)
  • 2016-2019: Alcohol & Cannabis Program phase 1 and 2 development – Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care
  • 2015-2017: Prevention program development – Society for Mental Health Research (SMHR)
  • 2014-2017: The Climate Schools Combined (CSC) study – National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC)
  • 2014-2015: Addition of emerging drugs to Ecstasy Program and trial – National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC)
  • 2014: Climate Schools Parenting Program literature review – UNSW Goldstar Award
  • 2012-2015: The Climate and Preventure (CAP) study – National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC)
  • 2012-2015: UNSW VC Post-Doc trial
  • 2010-2011: Climate UK pilot
  • 2009: Ecstasy & Emerging Drugs Program development – Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care
  • 2008-2009 Cannabis & Psychostimulants Program development and trial – Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care
  • 2006-2009 Alcohol and Cannabis Program development and trial – Alcohol Education and Rehabilitation Foundation (AERF)
  • 2004-2006: Alcohol Program development and trial – Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery Projects

PhD Student Research

  • Katrina Champion, PhD student, NDARC, UNSW Sydney (2012 – 2016; NHMRC PhD scholarship) – “Paying attention to prevention: An internet-based framework to address alcohol, cannabis, ecstasy and new psychoactive substance use”.
  • Nicola Newton, PhD student, NDARC, UNSW Sydney (2006 – 2009; AERF PhD scholarship) – “The development and evaluation of a school-based prevention program for alcohol and cannabis use delivered via the Internet”.
  • Laura Vogl, PhD student, NDARC, UNSW Sydney (2003 – 2007; PhD scholarship) – “Development and evaluation of the computerised Climate Schools: Alcohol module”.
  • Scarlett Smout, PhD student, the Matilda Centre, University of Sydney (2021-2024; Paul Ramsay Foundation PhD scholarship) – “Healthy body, healthy mind? Examining the relationships between six modifiable health behaviours and mental health in adolescents.
  • Lyra Egan, PhD student, the Matilda Centre, The University of Sydney (2021 – 2024; Paul Ramsay Foundation PhD scholarship) – “Understanding and preventing poor diet, alcohol use, tobacco smoking and vaping among adolescents from low socioeconomic and remoteness areas through eHealth interventions”.

OurFuture’s
latest awards

The researchers behind OurFutures Prevention Programs are proud to have received numerous individual and team awards for presenting, developing, and disseminating our prevention programs.

See All Our Awards

Professional Rapid Presentation Prize – Lauren Gardner
The Australasian Society for Behavioural Health and Medicine (ASBHM) Conference

Makers & Shapers Award for Outstanding Research – Lauren Gardner
The University of Sydney

Rising Star Award – Lauren Gardner
European Society for Prevention Research (EUSPR)

FMH Boost Publication and Travel Funding Award – Lauren Gardner
The University of Sydney

Early Career Researcher Potential Award – Lauren Gardner
Society for Mental Health Research (SMHR)

The Leonie Manns Community Impact & Engagement Award – OurFutures Institute
The Matilda Centre Awards 2021

FMH EMCR Showcase, Best Presentation – Lauren Gardner

SEMCAN Good Mentor Award – Lauren Gardner

EUSPR Rising Star Award – Lauren Gardner

FMH Makers & Shapers Outstanding Research (Individual) – Lauren Gardner

The Matilda Centre Mentoring Award – Nicola Newton

SMHR Early Career Researcher Potential Award – Lauren Gardner