Strategies for Engagement
Engaging young people can be challenging, even for trained professionals. However, by listening and learning more about what is important to them, and tailoring the prevention messages to what is important, you can lay the foundation for engaged conversations around substance use prevention.
Risk and Protective Factors
Risk factors are conditions or characteristics that can increase a young person’s likelihood of initiating substance use and experiencing harms or other problems associated with use. Protective factors are conditions or characteristics that increase resilience, help people deal with stressful events and reduce the impacts of risk factors.
Prevention efforts focus on reducing risk factors and strengthening protective factors. The worksheet below is intended to help youth recognize their own protective factors and identify which factors they want to strengthen.
Motivational Interviewing (MI) is an evidence-based approach to having a collaborative dialogue with an individual based on their readiness for change. This resource, Motivational Interviewing for Engaging with Youth, highlights some tenets of motivation along with starter scripts to infuse MI into conversations with youth exploring change.
Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) is one approach to integrating more comprehensive substance use prevention measures into service delivery. SBIRT seeks to idenitify risks for or use of substances at it’s earliest stages. It includes:
- Screening using a validated tool, to identify an individual’s risk for a substance use disorder.
- Brief Intervention to raise an individual’s awareness of risks, elicit internal motivation for change and help set behavior-change goals.
- Referral to Treatment to facilitate access to and engagement in specialized services and coordinated care for individual’s at highest risk of a substance use challenge or disorder.1
It is important to gather insights directly from youth. Below, find an article written by one of the project’s youth ambassadors on Preventing Illicit Drug Use on College Campuses.
This project is supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a financial assistance award totaling $2,000,000 with 100% funded by CDC/HHS. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement by, CDC/HHS or the U.S. Government.