The key steps involved in delivering Al activities targeting young people are provided below.
These will be a useful starting point for developing your Community Action Plan activity and informing your approach.
These steps provide an indicative guide; it is important to tailor your approach to your local community.
LDATs may be responsible for delivering project activities if they have the appropriate expertise. Alternatively, they can work with their partners and communities to support the delivery of these project activities. This might include:
You can engage the community on this issue by:
A critical role for LDATs is to engage with their community to put alcohol and other drug-related issues on the public agenda and to motivate them to act.
Studies have found that students and employees who most need health information about substances are the least likely to participate in prevention and harm minimisation projects. This means engaging these students/employees is key. Changing the context of information dissemination may be key to this, making information available outside the traditional ‘health based’ services present in education and workplace environments. Increasingly electronic, online and smartphone-based harm minimisation projects have been shown to have successful results.
Engaging students and employees may not be the only challenge. Engaging institutions, workplaces, and the broader community is also essential.
Research has demonstrated that substance use, especially alcohol consumption, has been normalised in many of these environments.
Research has demonstrated that activities that successfully engage young adults are:
LDATs may also engage with partners within the broader community when running these activities.
Tips for engaging the community
Providing young people in your community with quality information and resources on alcohol and other drugs by:
LDATs might provide harm reduction information and awareness directly, or by working with partners.
LDATs have a critical role in providing information and increasing awareness on activities that can minimise harm among young people. For many young people transitioning into higher education and the workforce, substances can be widely available. For this reason, engaging young people in harm minimisation activities is important to reduce the possible harms associated with substance use.
The dissemination of harm minimisation information can establish and reinforce strategies that are currently used by young adults for reducing alcohol and other drug-related harm.
LDATs can distribute this kind of information to young adults and community partners in a number of ways. This could include:
Examples of harm minimisation strategies
|Brief Tailored Interventions (BTI)||BTIs have been showing some promise in the area of harm minimisation in higher education students. BTI can vary from five minutes of brief advice, or 15 minutes of brief counselling. The aim of BTI is not to treat substance use, but to provide important information about risk and harm minimisation in an opportunistic, supportive and non-judgemental manner.[7,8] BTIs are a low cost and effective way of distributing harm minimisation information and can be provided by primary care givers, counsellors, or peer-to-peer from information stalls, and campus health centres. BTIs are now also available as smartphone applications. See: • WHO – Brief Intervention for Substance Use: A Manual for Primary Care who.int/substance_abuse/activities/en/Draft_Brief_Intervention_for_Substance_Use.pdf|
|Technology based BTI||Short, technology-based activities are being used in an ever-increasing way to influence numerous kinds of health seeking behaviours, especially in young people. The beneficial effects of technology-based brief interventions for problematic alcohol have been shown to be popular with younger adults. SMS-based activities have been demonstrated to have successful outcomes with regards to behavioural change in health concerns such as weight loss, smoking cessation and management of diabetes. The Mobile Intervention for Drinking in Young People (MIDY) is a pilot study currently being run by The Burnet Institute that targets drinking habits in university students. Smartphone technology is an innovative and accessible platform for the specific and tailored dissemination of harm minimisation information. Smartphone application make brief tailored intervention available to large numbers of university students. • For more information on such activities burnet.edu.au/projects/239_midy_the_mobile_intervention_for_drinking_in_young_people_pilot|
|General Workplace Health Promotion||Workplace based health promotion has been demonstrated to have an impact on young people both in and outside the workplace. All workplaces should have a health and wellbeing policy. See: • guidelines for workplace wellness programs headsup.org.au/docs/default-source/default-document-library/guide_to_promoting_health_ and_wellbeing_in_the_workplace.pdf?sfvrsn=2 • associations such as Workplace Health Association Australia (WHAA) can help workplaces connect with specific organisations to establish workplace wellbeing programs workplacehealth.org.au/introducing-whaa|
|Peer education intervention||Peer education interventions have been demonstrated to be a vital part of health promotion in university settings. Involving peers in the delivery of health promotion helps to ensure that information is delivered in an age-appropriate and friendly manner. See: • student.uwa.edu.au/experience/health/fit/volunteer • For more information on peer support see the ADF’s Peer Support toolkit community.adf.org.au/plan/project-and-activity-toolkits|
Increase community participation and social connection by:
LDATs can also provide advice and support to help community organisations determine a course of action for delivering quality activities to reduce the use of alcohol and other drugs.
Consider action to increase social networks. This could include running networking events or increasing membership of local groups. Your team can build social connection through arts participation, promoting civic engagement and volunteering, increasing people’s sense of belonging, and promoting a culture where people support one another to engage in low-risk drinking practices.
Examples of actions that could increase community participation and social connection include:
Link community organisations to quality programs and services by:
A key role of Local Drug Action Teams is to link communities to quality alcohol and other drug programs. These may include:
Promote collaboration between community organisations to:
LDATs have a key role in facilitating productive partnerships between employees/students and workplaces/institutions. Collaboration between your target populations may focus on:
You can measure the success of your activities by: