SMASHED, a global alcohol education program, has been adapted to the local context by the Philippine Educational Theater Association (PETA) through a website (online.smashedproject.org) that includes an interactive film about three friends struggling with the misuse of alcohol.
It will initially be rolled out in 120 schools, or 40,000 students, across Manila, Pasig, and Quezon City.
To effectively reach the target audience of Filipino teenagers, the program “harnesses critical thinking through informed choices” and supplements this with a teachers’ guide that PETA’s curriculum committee designed, as basis for follow-up sessions on the effects of drinking, said Smashed Philippines’ Program Director Melvin E. Lee.
The Department of Education assisted Smashed PH in adapting the program for grades 5 to 12, which already have an existing alcohol education curriculum, he added.
Developed in the United Kingdom in 2004 by educational theater company Collingwood Learning, Smashed has since reached 1 million young people in 30 countries. The Philippines is one of several countries where the virtual program, which underwent a trial run in the UK, will be piloted on a larger scale due to the pandemic.
“Globally, underage drinking is in decline. It’s less prevalent now than it was in the past, but that doesn’t mean the problem has gone away,” said Andy Summers, communications manager of Collingwood Learning, citing a report by the International Alliance for Responsible Drinking which found that underage consumption declined in two-thirds of 63 countries.
Smashed aims to shape teenagers’ understanding and attitude towards early alcohol consumption, particularly its facts, causes, and consequences. “Early onset alcohol consumption remains a predictor of alcohol-related problems in adulthood,” Mr. Summers said.
In the Philippines, online alcohol sales went up in the past few months due to quarantine restrictions reducing operations of bars and restaurants. This led to alcohol firms pledging to prevent online sales to minors, who continue to undergo remote learning that leaves them at home where alcohol can be easily accessed.
The localized Smashed short film, written by Joanna Marie “J-mee” L. Katanyag and directed by Randolph Longjas, is non-linear and interactive. — Brontë H. Lacsamana