Reframing Adolescent Substance Use and Its Prevention Playbook

Efforts to build public awareness of the factors that can prevent or mitigate adolescent substance abuse as well as support for evidence-based interventions should include appeals to moral responsibility and an explanation of the harmful effects of substance use on adolescents, a report from the Frame Works Institute suggests.

The playbook offers a number of field-tested framing strategies for effectively addressing public misperceptions of the problem — for example, that substance use merely is an experimental phase adolescents go through. According to the playbook, featuring pediatricians and adolescents as messengers, translating specialized language into easy-to-understand metaphors, and avoiding the overuse of the word screening can help to reframe adolescent substance use as a public concern, address public skepticism about adolescents’ willingness to admit to substance use in a healthcare setting, and serve to explain how environmental factors contribute to the escalation of substance use in adolescents, which is both preventable and remediable.

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Date: 2018