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Substance Abuse Awareness

Education by Age and Materials to Support Prevention

(Part 1 of 4) Substance abuse awareness and prevention remains an important topic for educators of youth, teens, and those entering early adulthood. Although substance abuse (underage drinking specifically) has seen a steady decline over the past 20 years, there is still a significant amount of prevention needed. Underage drinking alone makes up approximately 11% of all alcohol consumed in the United States. When planning for a drug and alcohol awareness project, it’s important to look at what’s contributed to this rate to drop (as much as 60% in some demographics) and consider questions like what techniques work and what hasn’t worked? Most importantly, how can someone create effective awareness while achieving the desired effect of curbing underage substance use?

Underage drinking alone makes up approximately 11% of all alcohol consumed in the United States

To answer this question, our team looked at age groups as a major differentiator in how someone might present information and what materials to use in supporting an awareness program. Young children, teenagers, and college students respond to education differently, so outreach to them should be structured so these different populations will understand, and more importantly, so they will care.

If you are planning an awareness campaign, let PSA remove some of the guesswork; in this post we’ll offer advice on raising awareness for underage alcohol and drug abuse in different age groups and recommend the appropriate materials to get messages across effectively.


Substance Abuse Education for Youth

Elementary-aged children are in a very impressionable time of their lives. Young children are often exposed to glorified alcohol and drug use in TV shows and movies before they can understand they’re seeing an unrealistic use of drugs and alcohol. Children are unaware of the effects of substance abuse when the image they are often delivered is that using substances is fun and without consequence.

It’s important to recognize this lack of consequential education when planning a program for young children. Children often learn through cause and effect. It’s how they learn to walk and, eventually, ride a bike: they learn that “If I do this, then that happens.” They’ll avoid things that cause them to fall while preferring those that help them stay up. The next stage is best seen in the imagery of a child who never stops asking, “Why?” They understand the effect, now they’re curious about the cause. To really educate children, use this natural curiosity and demonstrate real-life consequences to different actions.

Educating Youth on the Effects of Drugs and Alcohol

Most parents say they would much rather their children learn about drugs and alcohol from them, or a trusted source, rather than their peers. Leveraging curiosity and creativity to teach children the consequences of substance abuse is the essential foundation for continuing education through teenage years and young adulthood. These products can help introduce young children to this information without being too difficult to understand and without overwhelming them.

Red Ribbon Bottle Kit

Smart Kids Say No To Drugs Activity Book

Drug Free Maze

What To Say Playing Cards

Each of these books and playing cards apply to both drugs and alcohol. They’ll teach children the basics and help them learn how to say “No” to drug and alcohol use and stay clear of negative influencers. Include some extra goodies like the Drug Free Mood Watch, Silicone Bracelet, and Red Ribbon Bottle Kit at your event that children can wear or carry with them every day, both as a fashion statement and as a daily reminder to stay drug and alcohol free. Below are even more materials designed for elementary-aged children. Keep reading after the break to learn how to continue their drug and alcohol education as they move on into middle school and their teens.

Ready to get started with your Youth drug and alcohol abuse prevention campaign?

You can find everything we’ve discussed above here:

Still looking for more to make your campaign an even greater success? Check out these additional products:

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