• “The Dalgarno Institute’s Humpty Dumpty Dilemma, AOD Education presentation was on point. They didn’t pull any punches in delivering a message that was powerful and persuasive, talking about the attitudes towards drug and alcohol use. They used real life examples of the impact of drugs and alcohol on people’s lives and didn’t shy away from challenging stereotypes, cultures and individuals.  To hold the attention of a room full of teenagers is quite a feat and he made it look easy. 

    Comments and conversations with teaching staff after the seminar also affirmed the success of the presentation, with one teacher actually saying he not only valued the presentation, but also did not expect the positive response from the students, considering they were ‘pulled’ from other classes they wanted to attend.”

    Michael Walker, Chaplain. 
    Kerang Technical High School
  • Thank you for coming to Berengarra and delivering your “No Brainer” program. You made a special effort to accommodate the needs of our students and timetable and this was very much appreciated.  The presenter was engaging and enthusiastic, and kept the attention of all the students and staff for 90 minutes. The presentation including the PowerPoint and music and were of a very high quality. The presentation was a great mix imagery, personal stories, facts and statistics that kept the attention of all of our year 8, 9 and 10 students.

    Staff commented on how well the presentation was delivered and received, and would like to work with the Dalgarno institute in the future.

    Claire McIntyre - Student Counsellor
    Berengarra Box Hill Campus

  • We were all very impressed with the way the Dalgarno Institute NO Brainer Presentations captivated the student’s attention over the 90 minute sessions, including cohorts from year 9 and 12…The talks are vibrant and the use of inclusive teaching strategies is commendable

    The presentations helped many of our students consider their decisions about drugs and the social situations that they may encounter involving drugs.

    Many students approach staff after the seminars expressing their appreciation of having been given the opportunity of hearing your message. Several students had also sought teachers’ advice with concerns about their own experiences with drugs as a result of the presentations. 

    Ruth Burton – Coordinator, Health 
    Paul Wilson – Principal Golden 
    Grove High School (Adelaide)

Demand Reduction - Priority One  (Best Practice – Deny/Delay Uptake!)

We express deep concern at the high price paid by society and by individuals and their families as a result of the world drug problem, and pay special tribute to those who have sacrificed their lives and those who dedicate themselves to addressing and countering the world drug problem…

We commit to safeguarding our future and ensuring that no one affected by the world drug problem is left behind by enhancing our efforts to bridge the gaps in addressing the persistent and emerging trends and challenges through the implementation of balanced, integrated, comprehensive, multidisciplinary and scientific evidence-based responses to the world drug problem, placing the safety, health and well-being of all members of society, in particular our youth and children, at the centre of our efforts… 

UNODC – Commission On Narcotic Drugs – Vienna: 2019 Ministerial Declaration (page 3 & 5)

Families and particularly children, should never, ever be casualties of drug use, by anyone. 

It certainly is a gross injustice and heinous social irresponsibility to have policies that increase demand for, and/or access to, illicit drugs which facilitate the costly harms not easily repaired. 

The mantra that we ‘cannot arrest our way out of the drug problem’ is true. However, we also understand that we most definitely will not be able to ‘treat our way out of the drug problem’ either. 

There must be a health, education and legal approach, working in concert and that focuses on demand reduction, prevention and recovery from drug use. This journey approach that properly harnesses the three pillars of the National Drug Strategy – Demand Reduction – Supply Reduction – Harm Reduction, for the purpose of helping build a resilient culture that doesn’t need or want drugs, will see the healthy, productive and safe culture the United Nations Office of Drugs & Crime, and the World Health Organisation are pursuing.  


'There is no credible voice in the literature that promotes or defends early uptake of alcohol or other drugs, as there is no safe drug use at all, of any drug, for the developing brain 0-26/32 years of age. And whilst not using any drug is not the only option, it is the best practice option for this vital stage of development of the young. As proactive and protective agents of children’s development we seek to afford and/or provide all children, their parents, care-givers or significant others, with as many best practice delaying/denying uptake mechanisms, vehicles and options as possible – Health Care Professionals and Families Must Focus on Youth Substance Use Prevention.

Individuals, groups and/or organisations that seek to permit, promote or otherwise enable young people to engage with psychotropic toxins at this vulnerable stage are not only denying best health practice, but are also contravening United Nations Conventions and Guidelines.

United Nations Economic and Social Council: Commission on Narcotic Drugs – Fifty-ninth session Vienna, March 2016: Operational recommendations on demand reduction and related measures, including prevention and treatment, as well as other health-related issues (p 5.)

We reiterate our commitment to promote the health, welfare and well-being of all individuals, families, communities and society as a whole, and facilitate healthy lifestyles through effective, comprehensive, scientific evidence-based demand reduction initiatives at all levels, covering, in accordance with national legislation and the three international drug control conventions, prevention, early intervention, treatment, care, recovery, rehabilitation and social reintegration measures, as well as initiatives and measures aimed at minimizing the adverse public health and social consequences of drug abuse, and we recommend the following measures:

Prevention of drug abuse

  1. Take effective and practical primary prevention measures that protect people, in particular children and youth, from drug use initiation by providing them with accurate information about the risks of drug abuse, by promoting skills and opportunities to choose healthy lifestyles and develop supportive parenting and healthy social environments and by ensuring equal access to education and vocational training;
  2. Also take effective and practical measures to prevent progression to severe drug use disorders through appropriately targeted early interventions for people at risk of such progression;
  3. Increase the availability, coverage and quality of scientific evidence-based prevention measures and tools that target relevant age and risk groups in multiple settings, reaching youth in school as well as out of school, among others, through drug abuse prevention programmes and public awareness-raising campaigns, including by using the Internet, social media and other online platforms, develop and implement prevention curricula and early intervention programmes for use in the education system at all levels, as well as in vocational training, including in the workplace, and enhance the capacity of teachers and other relevant professionals to provide or recommend counselling, prevention and care services; (UNGASS – 2016)

University of Queensland drugs expert Jake Najman said information given to students on drugs should not be a “half an hour school lesson”. Professor Najman said governments needed to invest in developing intensive, long-term drug education for students. “It’s a much more systematic problem that needs real commitment and not just a headline saying, ‘Don’t do it’,” he said. 

23 February 2018, Brisbane Times

We couldn’t agree more; that’s why we had developed our ‘all of school’ incursions and curriculum, along with our ‘all of community’ education seminars – including sporting clubs, parents, community leaders and policy makers! Changing the cultural narrative on drug use is a long game, in which the Dalgarno Institute has been a key stakeholder for over 150 years. Our consistent demand reduction and proactive prevention messaging and resources, have been effective in doing just that, when fully engaged by the community.

Prevention & Demand Reduction – An all of Community Approach

The Dalgarno Institute has long advocated for an anthropological approach to the cultural ‘symptom’ of substance use. Drug use invariably causes (at the very least) some level of harm to both the drug user (their health and well-being) or that of their family and community. On an ever-growing number of occasions, drug use creates a veritable maelstrom of disturbing outcomes and harms – most of which cannot be ‘reduced’, despite the claims of pro-drug advocates. Prevention (denying and/or delaying substance uptake) is the only best-practice for the developing brain demographic.

This is one of the core reasons why our long standing (but relatively small grass-roots movement) has always sought to look ‘behind’ the noise of drug use and its outcomes to origins, motivators and initiates. Anthropologically sound proactive and protective elements have always been part of our community education mechanisms, very much including the understanding of a consistent culture shaping Journey of resiliency building principles, values and relationships with young people and their immediate socialisation contexts.

Engaging All of community – All of the family – with one focus, one message and one voice of deny and/or delaying uptake. Our perception of reality is constructed socially, and that is done through recency, frequency, proximity and intensity. What the young person is immersed in familial and culturally will shape the development of the emerging citizen. So, it is imperative that what focus, message and voice our young people are exposed to on drug use does not create cognitive dissonance or deliver contradictory messaging and modelling in the public square.  Any confusion in this space only diminishes the protective factors of the message. We do not have such cognitive dissonance around tobacco use on our culture, and subsequently demand for cigarettes has plummeted.  All messaging must enable, equip and empower the emerging generation to have greater capacity to develop their humanity, agency and dignity without the drug use, that only undermines these imperatives.

Iceland too understood much of this, and not only the value of the preventative ‘all of community’ approach, but the need for a disciplined, sustained and uncompromised implementation of strategies be bought to bear. (Again much like our successful ‘war on tobacco’) The outcomes, as we already understand from other historical models of ‘all of community’ shaping mechanisms; works.

The following is a link to the overview of this model, which is based in sound anthropological, not merely sociological principles – including Sustainable worldview, meaning, purpose, values and relationships – All things that keep Humpty Dumpty from and unnecessary fragility and self-sabotaging risks.


Drug use among youth: National survey data support a common liability of all drug use

Robert L. DuPont,⁎, Beth Hanb, Corinne L. Sheaa, Bertha K. Madrasc,d

a Institute for Behavior and Health, Inc., 6191 Executive Blvd, Rockville, MD 20852, USA 

b Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 5600 Fishers Lane, Rockville, MD 20852, USA 

c McLean Hospital, 115 Mill Street, Belmont, MA 02478, USA

d Harvard Medical School, 25 Shattuck Street, Boston, MA 02115, USA 

Abstract: The prevalence of substance use disorders in adults is higher if substance use is initiated during adolescence, underscoring the importance of youth substance use prevention. We examined whether the use of one substance by adolescents is associated with increased risk for using any other substance, regardless of use sequences. In 2017 we examined data from 17,000 youth aged 12–17 who participated in the 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, a sample of nationally representative data on substance use among the U.S. civilian, noninstitutionalized population aged 12 or older. Descriptive analyses and multivariable logistic regression models were applied. After controlling for age, sex, and race/ethnicity, compared with youth without past-month marijuana use, youth with past-month marijuana use were 8.9 times more likely to report past-month cigarette use, 5.6, 7.9 and 15.8 times more likely to report past-month alcohol use, binge use, or heavy use (respectively), and 9.9 times more likely to report past-month use of other illicit drugs. 

The prevalence of past-month use of cigarettes, marijuana, and other illicit drugs was significantly higher among past-month alcohol users compared with youth without past-month alcohol use, and increased as intensity of alcohol use rose. Among past-month cigarette smokers, the prevalence of marijuana, other illicit drugs, and alcohol use were each significantly higher than youth without past-month cigarette use. Youth marijuana use, cigarette smoking, or alcohol consumption is associated with other substance use. 

This finding has importance for youth prevention, supporting a message no use by youth of any substance.

For complete article

Download PDF



Dear Learning Facilitator, The Dalgarno Institute, a non profit, public interest community based organisation, have over a 150 years experience in providing proactive and protective resources and education options on alcohol and other drug issues to the Australian community.

We currently have an exciting new schools based initiative:
Seminar options: (Three Key Base Products Numbers of Variables)

No Brainer: For year 7,8 or 9 students and is a basic introduction to alcohol and other drugs that compliments the ‘I Wish I Never...’ curriculum. Content covers

  • Overview of some of The What – The How – The Why of drug use.
  • Specific and intensive focus on specifically how different drugs impact the body and brain and includes tactile exercises to assist retention.
  • Drugs focused on in this seminar/s are Alcohol, Cannabis, ICE, Ecstasy and other ATS.
  • Looks at foundational aspects for developing resiliency around the AOD issue.

Ripped Off: For year 10/11 students and follows the same pedagogy as NO Brainer – However, content focuses on

  • Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) use and the issues and the impact on the natural environment and climate change.
  • AOD use and the issues of social justice and responsibility in both the local and global community.
  • That global citizenship is about ensuring justice for the marginalised and vulnerable on the planet, particularly the poor and children and understanding of what drug use does to those key demographics.
  • Continues to focus on resiliency from a community perspective.

Humpty Dumpty Dilemma: For year 11 and 12 students. Content focuses on

  • Heads UP’ for students getting ready to step into the ‘unregulated’ world (outside school).
  • Looks more closely at resiliency issues and decision making, including potential psycho-social ‘anchors’.
  • Challenges the thinking of students to develop logical and evidence based frameworks for decision making around AOD issues in often complex, yet ill-conceived peer and boundary-less environments.
  • Builds on resiliency issues addressed in previous seminars.

Additional Options:

  • Bouncing Back Parent Evenings: Seminar time up to 90 minutes. Normal cost is $440 (GST inc) for the evening regardless of numbers.
  • Changing the Narrative – (Fence Building) Community Seminar Events: Focusing on both shifting and empowering communities to become more Resilient,  proactive and preventative around the AOD issue. Engages the audience in collaborative discussion and potential strategy building for Demand Reduction and Prevention processes.

As of July 1 2016, school seminars cost $550 per 90-100 minute seminar for up to 150 students at a time. If more than 150 students, two seminars will need to be conducted at a total cost of $880 (NB: One free incursion seminar included in ‘I wish I never...’ DVD Curriculum Package deal as per above). Depending on school financial capacity, a gold coin option may be negotiated if necessary.

This incursion program offers a creative pedagogy aimed at helping young people and teenagers more effectively engage with the reality and inevitability of alcohol and other drugs in their current culture. Our approach emphasises 'minimising harm by maximising prevention'. Thus the seminars focus on not only the very real option of refusal, but also assist students to effectively consider these options. More than that, we provide you with a follow-up affective domain education journey that can help enable students to become positive change agents in their own peer settings.

The seminars are fully interfaced with National Curriculum frameworks and also dovetailed with the Student Welfare Coordinators guide for 'Preventing Drug Related Harm'.

Whilst we do not charge for initial incursion, we have a number of funding options based on the schools needs, ranging from a gold coin donation per student for a 75 -90 minute seminar to negotiated pricing for longer seminars or full days.

Sincerely, The NO Brainer Education Team


This incursion program offers a creative pedagogy aimed at helping young people and teenagers more effectively engage with the reality and inevitability of alcohol and other drugs in their current culture. Our approach emphasises ‘minimising harm by maximising prevention’. Thus the seminars focus on not only the very real option of refusal, but also assist students to effectively consider these options. More than that, we provide you with a follow-up affective domain education journey that can help enable students to become positive change agents in their own peer settings.

The seminars are fully interfaced with National Curriculum frameworks and also dovetailed with the Student Welfare Coordinators guide for ‘Preventing Drug Related Harm’.

Whilst we do not charge for initial incursion, we have a number of funding options based on the schools needs, ranging from a gold coin donation per student for a 75 -90 minute seminar to negotiated pricing for longer seminars or full days. Sincerely, The NO Brainer Education Team


To provide harm prevention – abstinence focused resources that can be delivered to schools by The Dalgarno Institute (and/or other trained and designated facilitators or other partner agencies).  All scientific and academic data proves conclusively that any substance use is detrimental to the brain of children and adolescents, clearly stating that at this formative stage of brain development there is NO safe level of alcohol or other drug use – so abstinence is the safest and best option and should be aggressively and consistently promoted across the community!

The 2010 National Drug strategy states  that Harm Minimisation - “Involves a range of approaches to prevent and reduce drug-related harm including prevention; early intervention; specialist treatment; supply control; safer drug use; and abstinence.”

Evidence suggests that the imperative of ‘abstinence and prevention’ focused model of education for the under 25 group is difficult to locate and/or access; we seek to provide that option through direct delivery or referral to other like-focused agencies.
"Young people have a right to grow up in a society where they are protected from pressures to drink and from the harm done by alcohol.”   World Health Organisation


“Thanks so much for the sensational sessions you guys ran for our year 8 students last week. They had a huge impact on some of our students and brought the truth into light about the lies our students are fed through the media, marketing and society in general... We ran a Binge Drinking Seminar as a part of our ‘Year 10 Resiliency Day’; The No Brainer resources are sensational. We used the recent "Don't turn your night out into a nightmare" TV adds to get the kids thinking of the consequences of alcohol abuse to kick off and then worked through the worksheets, postcards for our newly elected State Politician and the pledge poster. Well done Dalgarno, the resources really help to generate discussion and the students remembered the key themes from your session last year….Thanks for the effort you put into these resources, they will help to save some of our precious young people's lives. (Private School - Peninsula)

“I was overjoyed with the wonderful presentation you gave my year 10 group of students yesterday, and from the [student] feedback it went over very well indeed… The Students were still talking about it days later!”   (Private School - Inner northern suburbs)

“As college chaplain it was a dream come true to have The Dalgarno Institute and the No Brainer-alcohol and other drugs seminar presented here with our year 8’s. Not only were the seminars highly informative but they were also engaging and thought provoking for our students and staff.  The presenter was highly passionate, well versed in the subject matter and inspiring... I personally enjoyed presenting the follow up session provided in the ‘NO Brainer’ Kit with students and felt that they were well received.  The highlights were students telling me things that they never knew about alcohol and other drugs and seeing them writing out their pledges”.   (Public School – South eastern suburbs)


For further and full overview of program please feel free to download this PDF

Download Prospectus


Not Even Once Film Competition

Kind Regards,
Mr. Shane Varcoe - Executive Director