Development of a Universal Internet-Based Prevention Program for Ecstasy and New Psychoactive Substances


In recent years, the Internet has received increasing recognition as an effective means of facilitating public health interventions. In particular, delivering prevention for substance use to school students via the Internet appears to be an area of great potential. The Climate Schools: Ecstasy and Emerging Drugs Module, a school-based prevention program, facilitated by the Internet, was developed to address the use of ecstasy and new and emerging drugs (Emerging Psychoactive Substances or Novel Psychoactive Substances). This four-lesson course was designed to be delivered to Australian adolescents (aged 15 to 16 years) during their standard health education classes at school, and is based on a harm-minimisation and social influence approach. The program was developed in response to the important public health challenge of new and emerging drugs as well as to address the prevention of ecstasy use among young people. To our knowledge, this will be the first school- and Internet-based prevention program specifically targeting these substances. This paper describes the process involved in developing this new Internet-based substance use prevention program.

Share and Cite:

Champion, K. , Teesson, M. and Newton, N. (2015) Development of a Universal Internet-Based Prevention Program for Ecstasy and New Psychoactive Substances. Open Journal of Preventive Medicine, 5, 23-30. doi: 10.4236/ojpm.2015.51003.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] International Telecommunication Union (2012) World Telecommunication/ICT Indicators Database.
[2] Schinke, S.P., Schwinn, T.M., Di Noia, J. and Cole, K.C. (2004) Reducing the Risks of Alcohol Use among Urban Youth: Three-Year Effects of a Computer-Based Intervention with and without Parent Involvement. Journal of Studies on Alcohol, 65, 443-439.
[3] Zabinski, M.F., Celio, A.A., Jacobs, M.A., Manwaring, J. and Wilfley, D.E. (2003) Internet-Based Prevention of Eating Disorders. European Eating Disorders Review, 11, 183-197.
[4] Bennett, G.G. and Glasgow, R.E. (2009) The Delivery of Public Health Interventions via the Internet: Actualizing Their Potential. Annual Review of Public Health, 30, 273-292.
[5] Newton, N.C., Vogl, L.E., Teesson, M. and Andrews, G. (2009) CLIMATE Schools: Alcohol Module: Cross-Validation of a School-Based Prevention Programme for Alcohol Misuse. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 43, 201-207.
[6] Newton, N.C., Teesson, M., Barrett, E.L., Slade, T. and Conrod, P.J. (2012) The CAP Study, Evaluation of Integrated Universal and Selective Prevention Strategies for Youth Alcohol Misuse: Study Protocol of a Cluster Randomized Controlled Trial. BMC Psychiatry, 12, 118.
[7] Marsch, L.A., Bickel, W.K. and Grabinski, M.J. (2007) Application of Interactive, Computer Technology to Adolescent Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment. Adolescent Medicine: State of the Art Reviews, 18, 342-356.
[8] Newton, N.C., Teesson, M., Vogl, L.E. and Andrews, G. (2010) Internet-Based Prevention for Alcohol and Cannabis Use: Final Results of the Climate Schools Course. Addiction, 105, 749-759.
[9] Portnoy, D.B., Scott-Sheldon, L.A., Johnson, B.T. and Carey, M.P. (2008) Computer-Delivered Interventions for Health Promotion and Behavioral Risk Reduction: A Meta-Analysis of 75 Randomized Controlled Trials, 1988-2007. Preventive Medicine, 47, 3-16.
[10] Cuijpers, P., Jonkers, R., de Weerdt, I. and de Jong, A. (2002) The Effects of Drug Abuse Prevention at School: The “Healthy School and Drugs” Project. Addiction, 97, 67-73.
[11] Cuijpers, P. (2002) Effective Ingredients of School-Based Drug Prevention Programs: A Systematic Review. Addictive Behaviors, 27, 1009-1023.
[12] Ben Ze’ev, A. (2003) Privacy, Emotional Closeness, and Openness in Cyberspace. Computers in Human Behavior, 19, 451-467.
[13] Newton, N.C., Andrews, G., Teesson, M. and Vogl, L.E. (2009) Delivering Prevention for Alcohol and Cannabis Using the Internet: A Cluster Randomised Controlled Trial. Preventive Medicine, 48, 579-584.
[14] Vogl, L., Teesson, M., Andrews, G., Bird, K., Steadman, B. and Dillon, P. (2009) A Computerized Harm Minimization Prevention Program for Alcohol Misuse and Related Harms: Randomized Controlled Trial. Addiction, 104, 564-575.
[15] Australian Drug Foundation (2014) New Psychoactive Substances (Synthetics) Facts. Melbourne.
[16] United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (2014) 2014 Global Synthetic Drugs Assessment. Amphetamine-Type Stimulants and New Psychoactive Substances. United Nations Publication, Sales No. E.14.XI.6, Vienna.
[17] Gibbons, S. (2012) “Legal Highs”—Novel and Emerging Psychoactive Drugs: A Chemical Overview for the Toxicologist. Clinical Toxicology, 50, 15-24.
[18] United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (2013) World Drug Report 2013. United Nations Publication, Sales No. E.13.XI.6.
[19] United Nations (2013) Report of the International Narcotics Control Board for 2012. International Narcotics Control Board, New York.
[20] Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (2011) Consideration of the Novel Psychoactive Substances (“Legal Highs”). London.
[21] Network of Alcohol and Drug Agencies (2014) New and Emerging Psychoactive Substances. NADA Discussion Paper, NADA, Strawberry Hills.
[22] Angelus Foundation (2013) Problems and Solutions.
[23] Corazza, O., Assi, S., Simonato, P., Corkery, J., Bersani, F.S., Demetrovics, Z., Stair, J., Fergus, S., Pezzolesi, C., Pasinetti, M., Deluca, P., Drummond, C., Davey, Z., Blaszko, U., Moskalewicz, J., Mervo, B., Furia, L.D., Farre, M., Flesland, L., Pisarska, A., Shapiro, H., Siemann, H., Skutle, A., Sferrazza, E., Torrens, M., Sambola, F., van der Kreeft, P., Scherbaum, N. and Schifano, F. (2013) Promoting Innovation and Excellence to Face the Rapid Diffusion of Novel Psychoactive Substances in the EU: The Outcomes of the ReDNet Project. Human Psychopharmacology, 28, 317-323.
[24] European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (2012) Annual Report 2012: The State of the Drugs Problem in Europe. Publications Office of the European Union, Luxembourg.
[25] United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (2013) International Standards on Drug Use Prevention.
[26] Champion, K.E., Newton, N.C., Barrett, E.L. and Teesson, M. (2013) A Systematic Review of School-Based Alcohol and Other Drug Prevention Programs Facilitated by Computers or the Internet. Drug and Alcohol Review, 32, 115-123.
[27] Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2011) 2010 National Drug Strategy Household Survey Report. Drug Statistics Series No. 25. Cat. No. PHE 145, AIHW, Canberra.
[28] United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (2013) The Challenge of New Psychoactive Substances: A Report from the Global SMART Programme. Vienna.
[29] Newton, N.C., Teesson, M. and Newton, K.L. (2012) Developing the Climate Schools: Ecstasy Module—A Universal Internet-Based Drug Prevention Program. Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, 44, 372-380.
[30] Botvin, G.J. (2000) Preventing Drug Abuse in Schools: Social and Competence Enhancement Approaches Targeting Individual-Level Etiologic Factors. Addictive Behaviors, 25, 887-897.
[31] White, V. and Bariola, E. (2012) Australian Secondary School Students’ Use of Tobacco, Alcohol, and Over-Thecounter and Illicit Substances in 2011. Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing.
[32] The Australian Resuscitation Council (2010) Basic Life Support Flow Chart.
[33] Corazza, O., Demetrovics, Z., van den Brink, W. and Schifano, F. (2013) “Legal Highs” an Inappropriate Term for “Novel Psychoactive Drugs” in Drug Prevention and Scientific Debate. International Journal of Drug Policy, 24, 82-83.
[34] Bright, S. (2013) New and Emerging Drugs in Prevention Research. Australian Drug Foundation, Melbourne.
[35] Meyer, L. and Cahill, H. (2004) Principles for School Drug Education. Australian Government Department of Education, Science and Training, Canberra.
[36] United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (2004) Schools: School Based Education for Drug Abuse Prevention. United Nations Publications.

Copyright © 2023 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.