Oct 12, 2015

Most local students don't drink or use drugs, emphasizes new campaign

Local youth are 12 times more likely to drink alcohol if they think “most everyone drinks.” So a new  campaign is aimed at telling Park County students the truth: most don't.

The new “Truth is…Most Don’t” campaign — put together by the West Park Hospital Prevention & Wellness office and the Park County Coalition Against Substance Abuse is aimed at promoting positive choices by focusing on the overwhelming majority of kids who don't drink or use drugs.

“We focus on the good,” says project coordinator Diane Ballard. “We’re up front about the risks, but this campaign is intended to empower youth with positive messages.”

Campaign leaders say scare tactics — think the shocking ads from the Montana Meth Project — don’t work and can actually prompt high-risk teens to engage in that behavior.

Negative messages may also promote the belief that drug and alcohol use is more common than it really is “and we want to dispel these myths,” Ballard says.

While the overall tone is a positive one, the ads do talk about the risks and side effects of alcohol and drug use — including noting that “about 5,000 youth die every year due to alcohol-related accidents.”

“That's scary. But the cool thing is most Cody High School students don't drink. Seriously — 72 percent choose not to drink alcohol, and that's a statistic I'm proud to be a part of,” a narrator says in one video spot. “Besides, nine out of 10 Cody High School students agree it's not okay for someone our age to drink regularly. Join me and most Cody High School students by not drinking alcohol.”

Different versions of the print and video ads are aimed at high schoolers or middle schoolers in both Cody and Powell, along with county-wide messages.

The messages will appear in school newspapers, posters, promotional items, on social media, closed-circuit broadcasts in local schools, at Big Horn Cinemas and on TCT cable.

Campaign leaders say all the facts presented in the campaign are science based, with data coming from the 2014 Wyoming Prevention Needs Assessment survey and other reliable studies. Ballard says the goal is to arm students with facts, contrasting it with the simplistic “Just Say No” and other drug-awareness campaigns of the past.

The campaign is funded by a Drug-Free Communities grant to reduce substance abuse among youth.

For more information, visit the website, www.mostdont.org, contact Ballard at 578-2708 or email 11pccasa@gmail.com.


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