Increasingly, society is recognizing the advantages of involving young people in drug prevention communication. There are numerous and diverse meanings and importance of youth participation in drug prevention programs. To list a few, young people can offer genuine insight into the methods that are most effective in helping them overcome their addictions or difficulties related to drug use. They are also experts in what they have perceived or even experienced themselves when it comes to talking about the effects of drugs, but most likely, they don't know the science behind drugs and drug abuse.
Young people can also create a website with two “virtual heroes” whose objective is to increase the level of information among young people about drugs, drug abuse and drug prevention, in an unconventional way. By accessing the website, the public can learn more about drugs and prevention, follow the two “virtual heroes” and participate in their development, ask the questions they have always wanted to ask themselves, and share their own experiences with drugs. In addition, young people can organize kiosks, involve other young people in their activities, and defend the interests of young people in the club community. This is part of a larger process of evaluating and respecting the capacities of young people.
The participation of young people in drug prevention programs is also beneficial for adults. Adults are part of the program structure, but their role is to support the efforts of young people and to be a resource for them when they need advice or confirmation. Overall, there are four main benefits of youth participation in anti substance abuse campaigns: offering genuine insight into methods that help overcome addiction; creating websites with virtual heroes; organizing kiosks; and providing support for adults. It is important to note that a 2001 UNICEF survey in South-Eastern Europe found that 60% of young people stated that they had little or no information on drug abuse prevention in their communities.
This highlights the need for more youth participation in anti substance abuse campaigns. Young people have a unique perspective on substance abuse that can be invaluable when it comes to creating effective prevention campaigns. They can provide insight into what works best for them when it comes to overcoming addiction and provide support for adults who are part of the program structure. Additionally, they can create websites with virtual heroes to increase awareness about drugs and drug prevention among their peers.
Finally, they can organize kiosks and involve other young people in their activities to defend the interests of young people in their community. All these activities are essential for creating successful anti substance abuse campaigns.