Changing the way we talk  about underage drinking

Parents would agree that when kids hit a certain age, adults become their enemy.

It is given that the youth will experiment with many things as they grow older: nicotine, alcohol or even illegal drugs. So, how does one discipline their children?

Smashed, launched in the Philippines through a collaboration between Diageo Philippines and PETA Plus in partnership with UK-based company Collingwood Learning, is a groundbreaking global program committed to tackle underage drinking. On its second run, it utilizes the novel approach of storytelling in addressing the said issue.

“This is a real change from the usual approach to alcohol education in schools and one that makes the risks of underage drinking impossible to forget. We understand that because of the pandemic, both teachers and students are still adjusting to the current normal. But we want to help carry the learning forward by providing high-quality teaching resources for use, despite the pandemic. We’re thrilled to be working with PETA Plus and the Department of Education in the Philippines to produce new innovative online learning solutions to supplement the highly successful live approach,” said Chris Simes, managing director for Collingwood Learning.

The Philippines, which has a thriving drinking culture, reports that 70 percent of the population has consumed alcohol before the age of 14, despite it being illegal for stores and restaurants to sell or serve the substance to minors.

Smashed is a groundbreaking global program committed to tackle underage drinking. | PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF SMASHED

During its initial rollout in the Philippines in 2021, Smashed was supported by 120 schools in 17 regions and managed to get up in front of an audience of 17,700 young people. With the Department of Education and other academic institutions serving as partners, Smashed Online was able to equip educators and young leaders with workshops and training.

For 2023, the program’s goal is to be able to get its message through to over 25,000 students, partnering with schools and educators all over the Philippines. It is the program’s target to reach 300,000 Filipino youths by 2030 by working in close collaboration with the Department of Education.

According to Gold Villar-Lim, Philippines’ Smashed Online project manager, in 2022, 93 percent of the total participants surveyed reported a marked attitudinal change.

Since Smashed first began touring schools back in 2004, over a million young people have now taken part in the program and there have been more than 4,000 performances in over 30 countries. In 2019-2020, the program appeared in 700 schools globally, in 15 languages across 19 countries, reaching 181,013 students.