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Videos help conversations with youth about substance use
Videos help conversations with youth about substance use
15 October 2015

A series of short drug information videos are now available to help  health professionals, youth workers and family members have conversations with young people about substance use and substance-related harm.

The "Did You Know" series was prompted by findings from the University of Auckland Youth 2012 survey, which found that 11 percent of secondary school students (just over one in every ten) were using substances at a level likely to “cause significant current harm and may cause long term problems.” Of particular concern was the finding that, of those students using at a risky level, two thirds had not had any worries about their substance use.

"Reducing substance-related harm for our young people is going to take more than just great services,' notes Ben Birks Ang, National Youth Services Advisor for Odyssey and the New Zealand Drug Foundation, who led the development of the video series. "We need to share our knowledge and empower our communities to support our young people. In talking to health professionals, youth workers, and family members about what prevents them from having real conversations with teenagers about substance use, we found that the most common barriers were: not knowing what to say; and not knowing how to say it."

Youth providers working for organisations within the AOD Provider Collaborative pulled together all the key facts that they have found resonate with young people. The group partnered with the New Zealand Drug Foundation to share their expert knowledge and commissioned Mohawk Media to develop the videos, utilising their expertise in script writing for a targeted audience and using animation to convey messages.

From over 20 pages of information, three short one minute videos were developed focusing on the three most common substances discussed with young people - namely, alcohol, cannabis and volatile substances.

The scripting uses the phrases and tones that youth workers use when talking to young people, sharing facts that are relevant for a young person’s world.

Tests with youth nurses reported much more effective conversations with young people about using substances, after they had viewed these videos and used this approach.

The "Did you know?" series was commissioned and directed by the AOD Provider Collaborative, supported by Odyssey Auckland and the New Zealand Drug Foundation.  The videos are to be used when training community, social and health workers by sharing facts about alcohol, cannabis, and volatile substances. The series was developed by Mohawk Media using characters created by Mōca.

View the videos here: