Communities that make an effort to come together in the fight against drugs are sure to make an impact on the prevention of drug abuse. There are many places to establish these prevention programs including schools, churches, and community-based clubs.

Tobacco and Alcohol Policies: Characteristics Linked to Positive Outcomes*****

As tobacco and alcohol use is more prevalent than other substance use and the associated global health burden is greater, delaying the use of these substances among youth can have a significant social impact. Furthermore, youth who use other substances often also use alcohol.

Evidence-based tobacco and alcohol policies are those that reduce access to underage children and adolescents and reduce the availability of tobacco and alcohol products.

Successful policies are those that increase the minimum age for sale of these products and increase their prices through taxation.  Banning advertisements of tobacco and restricting the advertisement of alcohol products targeting youth have also been shown to reduce their use.  Finally, active and consistent enforcement of these policies and involving retailers through educational programs are part of these effective approaches.

Community-Based Multi-Component Initiatives: Characteristics

The community-based multi-component initiatives impact all age groups, and in many ways, all settings. These community efforts focus on prevention and create partnerships, task forces, coalitions that bring together representatives from multiple sectors of the community who want to address substance use and abuse.

These community groups establish an infrastructure to support prevention programming providing financial and technical support to the community to deliver and sustain evidence-based prevention interventions and policies over time.

These initiatives support the enforcement of tobacco and alcohol policies and interventions and policies in a range of settings.  They provide training for prevention specialists and resources to undertake prevention programming.  They often involve universities to support the implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of the prevention initiatives. The Community-Based Prevention Implementation Systems focuses on how to create these groups and to implement multi-component initiatives.

Media Campaign: Characteristics*

Media campaigns are quite commonly viewed as an “easy” prevention intervention.  However, research has shown that unless done properly, based on communications and prevention science, media campaigns may be not only ineffective but also quite costly.  The evidence base for media campaigns is weak; however, the research literature shows that well-designed campaigns can result in positive outcomes.  The characteristics of these successful campaigns include: having a strong theoretical basis; focus on changing cultural norms about substance use; educate about the consequences of substance use; and suggest strategies to resist use.  Furthermore, it has been found that by targeting parents, well-designed, and executed media campaigns have an independent effect on children.  In other words, media campaigns that address parents do have an impact on children.

What also is important is how the media campaign is structured.  Messages should be delivered that have been tested first on representatives of the target population through focus groups or small, controlled pilot studies.  Media campaigns that connect with and support other substance use prevention programming enhance the campaign’s impact.  Furthermore, attached to the campaign should be on-going systematic evaluations so that messaging can be adjusted to achieve its intended impact.

Finally, effective campaigns take time to precisely define the target population and through monitoring are aware that that population is being reached.

What was found that doesn’t work in media campaigns?  Exaggerated or unrealistic threats or scare techniques as well as poorly thought out and poorly designed campaigns and campaigns that have limited resources.  You can learn much more about designing and implementing effective media campaigns in the Track on Media-Based Prevention Interventions.

Entertainment Venues Interventions: Characteristics Linked to Positive Outcomes*

Entertainment venues include bars, clubs, restaurants, and outdoor or special settings where large-scale events may occur such as large parties, concerts, or raves.  Although these venues are associated with positive opportunities for social gathering and support the local economy, they also provide opportunities for engagement in harmful behaviors such as alcohol use, drug use, drugged driving, and aggression.

Research in this setting as a prevention opportunity is a rapidly emerging area.  Although the evidence of effectiveness is limited, if implemented well, these interventions can have positive outcomes.

Most of these interventions include multiple components such as the training of staff and managers on responsible beverage service and management of intoxicated patrons.   These programs generally involve representatives of law enforcement and the health and social service sectors.  They also provide counseling and treatment services for staff and management who need it and include communications and media support to raise awareness and acceptance of the program.

Mentoring: Characteristics*

Although the evidence-base mentoring programs particularly for youth at risk for engagement in problem behaviors are not strong, the research literature indicated that trained mentors delivering a very structured program of activities can result in positive outcomes. In general, youth are matched with adults who commit to supporting them on a regular basis over extended periods of time.

Click the links below to chose from evidence-based programs;

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