Better Communication for Better Prevention. Analysis of Hidden Messages. Guidelines to Prevent Abuse and Drug Addiction
Project location: ITALY, Lazio, Lombardia, Abruzzo
Project start date: June 2014 - Project end date: June 2015
Project number: 2014-027
Beneficiary: Consiglio Italiano per le Scienze Sociali (CSS)
The illicit drug industry doesn't use publicity campaign, the drug demand is induced by messages on lifestyles associated to the use of drug. The project aims to associate some lifestyles and the "negative" messages with drug consumption and alcohol abuse among adolescents.
First goal is to collect the opinion of students, teachers, students parents and some recreational organizations, who operate in the territory of some schools (Laboratories), on a working hypothesis regarding the connection of certain lifestyles (more important features: sport practice, school performance, relationships with friends, internet or television use) and abuse of drug and/or alcohol .
The necessary discussion and analysis of the opinions are expected to generate a classification of the "ways of thinking" and the connection among lifestyles, drug consumption and implicit or explicit messages that bring the adolescent towards the use.
At the end of the project a "Communication Manual for the Prevention of Drug and Alcohol Abuse " will be written.
This project will develop a joint experience of statisticians and psychologists. The working hypothesis will come from the examination of the findings of several annual surveys on the secondary school guys (Espied data and reports HSCB), some annualises of these surveys were directly conducted by the statisticians of the project working group.
On the other side, the psychological background comes from the experience of the analysis of the communication applied to study when and under which conditions a brand can obtain a good market response.
Moreover the analysis will benefit of the experience recently achieved with the findings of two EU Projects on:
- The classification of the drug users into 5 categories in according with the frequency of use and their addiction;
- The analysis of the drug market and of the behaviour of the occasional users in seven European countries by a survey that had also used a Facebook page (in Italy) as mean of communication .
- A survey on the lifestyle of the abusers in four European countries.
Finally the present project can be considered the prosecution of the market analysis already developed by a Commission of the Consiglio (2008 - 2010) who published a white book (GM Rey, C Rossi, A Zuliani (Eds), Il mercato delle droghe: dimensione, protagonisti, politiche, Venezia 2010: Marsilio editori) concerning the description of the drug market. Now the ambition is to understand which messages are used by the Illicit Drug Industry to maintain and increase its presence in the market.
At the age of twenty, one student out of two has tried illicit drugs at least once. Alcohol consumption is even more common and many pharmaceuticals - without prescription - are sometimes used as drug substitutes and/or together with alcohol.
Since drug use is so wide spread in young people, communicative strategies that have been applied up to this time by interested stakeholders (parents, civil society organizations, teachers) may have not been effective or functional to raise awareness about and prevent drug use in young people.
Results from our surveys show that 35% of students who start drug use with pharmaceuticals obtained this substance for the first time from their own parents, and this is a clear signal of bad information on the problem.
Even the practice of sporting activities can be a predictor of the use and abuse: our surveys show that cocaine and cannabis use is slightly more common among the sport practitioners than in other groups.
Drug use starts for several reasons (curiosity being the most common and simple reason) and it is important to identify the most attractive lifestyles to address a less generic publicity campaign especially against the abuse.
It is important to recognize that drug users do not immediately become marginalized; mostly they make a recreational use of the drugs and obtain temporary benefits from drug use, and this temporary positive effect is well known among young people and students.
A joint examination (statisticians and psychologists) of the data collected by ESPAD data and report HSBC will be carry out. It will bring out the general opinions on television programs, movies, sport and cultural activities and other features. The document with results of the statistical analysis and of an initial psycho-sociological readings will be discussed with a group of students. A group of young people previously involved in a peer education program about addiction and risk behaviours will be also asked about the results and work hypotheses.
Direct contacts between psychologists and students will be promoted for the interpretations of the document (the meetings of 2 to 4 hours).
This project, which received a grant from the Nando Peretti Foundation, examines of the connection between lifestyles and drug and alcohol misuse. The document with results of the statistical analysis and of an initial psycho-sociological readings will be discussed with a group of students. A group of young people previously involved in a peer education program about addiction and risk behaviors will be also asked about the results and work hypotheses. A final document of all the results and activities will be presented and discussed in a meeting.