Take Action in Secondary Schools
Communicating About Prevention
There are many ways to get your message out to your students about substance abuse. A multi-strategy approach, using a variety of techniques to give students information about substance use, is perhaps the best approach. It is important to remember that many students do not engage in substance use and abuse, and it is important to highlight the positive in your communication strategies.
As an example, we can look at the statistics describing substance use in ways that convey the positive choices that many students make. We can emphasize the fact that approximately one third of all students participating in the 2007 Ontario Student Drug Use and Health Survey reported that they did not drink in the past year, rather than identifying the proportion who did.
General Tips for Community Substance Abuse Prevention Efforts:
- Include families in prevention efforts
- Make sure young people are involved in choosing a program they think will work. Consider using peers as speakers or presenters
- Consider carefully who is the most appropriate person to deliver the program. Explore your community for local experts
- Use a "social influences" approach
- Focus on teaching and building skills
- Focus on short-term effects of drug use
- Present messages about health risks and consequences in a concise way
- Promote partnerships between schools and the community
- Advocate policy changes and legislation that support decreased substance use
- Use the media carefully
Adapted from: CAMH Fact Sheet #1: Cannabis and Youth Project - Effective Strategies for Working with Youth