From Horror Film Victim to Action Hero: Transform Materials to be Empowering

11:30 AM
12:45 PM


It’s tempting to try to scare teens into not using alcohol, marijuana or vapes. The possible consequences are indeed scary. Unfortunately, research shows that using fear appeals can inadvertently have the opposite effect on some teens–and some adults. This session will explore how screaming “don’t go into the basement!” at the movie screen is similar to repeating “don’t do drugs” to young people. How often do they heed that advice? On the other hand, providing guidance, resources and skills can help your audience be the hero in their story. This session offers specific guidelines and checklists to ensure prevention messages in your materials and media campaigns are effective. The coalition will share examples from several campaigns they developed, including “You Determine Your Future” PSAs, “Two Truths” marijuana awareness posters, “You Got This!” drug prevention digital ads and “Talk, Monitor, Secure” parent campaign.

Learning Objectives

At the end of this session, participants will be able to:

1) Identify ways fear appeals may have unintended consequences

2) List components of effective drug prevention materials

3) Revise drug prevention materials to be more empowering and effective

31st Annual National Leadership Forum & SAMHSA's 17th Prevention Day


Barbara de Nekker
Executive Director
Community - The Anti-Drug
Catherine Spencer
Program Coordinator
Community - The Anti-Drug