Local Schools See Lower Rates of Teen Drinking Thanks to a New Community Education Campaign
Alcohol is everywhere: it’s on billboards, in magazines and movies, and in many homes. Seeing alcohol all around us may lead many parents and teens to mistakenly believe that drinking is an inevitable rite of passage for high school students. But the fact is, most teens don’t drink—a fact proven by the California Healthy Kids Survey (CHKS), administered by schools to more than 82,000 teens in 9th and 11th grades. According to the 2017–2018 anonymous student survey, 82 percent of South Orange County high school students did not drink alcohol in the past 30 days.
Mission Hospital and social change agency Civilian launched two education campaigns during the 2017–2018 school year. One year into the campaigns, data analysis found that the schools included in the campaigns showed higher reductions in alcohol use—reductions of up to 43 percent—compared to other schools in Orange County and across the state. While teen drinking has declined nationally and statewide, the schools included in the campaign showed significantly more marked change.
The teen-focused campaign and website, Strength in Numbers, provides peer-focused alcohol and drug-use statistics, health impact information and links for local resources. The campaign engages teens through targeted online advertising, school club/ambassador programs, on-campus partnerships and social sharing campaigns.
The parent-focused campaign and website, Raising Healthy Teens, provides adults with educational tools, drug and alcohol-related conversation starters and strategies to help teens develop self-esteem and connect with meaningful activities, both proven to further reduce to likelihood of alcohol and other drug use.
In addition, online discussions indicate that teens are avoiding drugs and alcohol because:
- They don’t like the way it tastes or makes them feel.
- They don’t want to get drunk, lose control, and/or do something they may regret.
- It is not good for their health, brain, body, teeth, breath, etc.
- Alcohol, drugs, and tobacco are a waste of money and/or calories.
- They don’t want drinking or smoking to affect grades, college chances, or career prospects.
Civilian and Mission Hospital are currently working to expand the highly successful campaigns to reach more students and parents, further reduce alcohol consumption, and make a similar impact on marijuana, e-cigarette, tobacco and other drug use.