Framework in Action
Using Technology to Prevent Substance Abuse among Youth

A core management team in a Michigan neighborhood was concerned about the high incidence of substance abuse among freshmen and sophomores at their high school.

Public health and school mental health staff suggested implementing a multimedia substance abuse prevention program for elementary- and middle-school students in their district to address the issue before youth began experimenting with drugs in high school.

The district subsequently integrated a computer-based education program into students’ health education or computer science classes. The program educated students about the dangers of drugs, how to refuse drugs from peers in social situations, and how to talk to trusted adults and find helpful resources. A text messaging program also supported the school-based curriculum, providing students useful and timely follow-up information and calls to action to reinforce their learnings. The technology-based approach aimed to use the tools youth prefer and are comfortable with to ultimately change attitudes and behavior around substance abuse.

Strategic Approach: