Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)

Communication and Education

The media plays a large role in shaping how many youth think and behave. Many of the messages kids receive from television, music, magazines, billboards, and the Internet glamorize drug, alcohol, and tobacco use. Yet, the media can be used to encourage positive behaviors as well. Four communications strategies—public education, social marketing, media advocacy, and media literacy—can be used to influence community norms, increase public awareness, and attract community support for a variety of prevention issues. These strategies are most effective when coupled with more potent prevention approaches, like policy, enforcement, education, and skill building. Evidence-based communication and education prevention strategies fall typically under five categories:

Developed under the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s Center for the Application of Prevention Technologies contract (Reference #HHSS277200800004C).