Ineffective and potentially harmful approaches in substance use prevention

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Prevention methods using shock tactics are proven to be ineffective. Nevertheless, strategies based on predominantly providing information about the dangers of substance use are widespread in Europe. The European Society for Prevention Research (EUSPR) is concerned about those so-called prevention strategies. It calls on decisionmakers, influencers and policymakers to use scientific proof of effectiveness as a criterion for exposing our youth to prevention methods and not to spend public money on rather commercial offers, since there are better and less expensive alternatives.

The so-called shock tactics, controversial forms of informational approaches where strong imagery or testimony (also by ex-substance-users) about the consequences of substance use are conveyed to children and adolescents are ineffective and expensive. Moreover, they may be harmful, leading to reactions that are opposite to those aimed for, e.g. increasing the willingness of certain target groups to try drugs.

Read the entire position paper of the European Society for Prevention Research (EUSPR)


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