Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)

City of Medford: I'm Allergic to Stupid Decisions

I’m Allergic to Stupid Decisions (IA2SD) is an innovative social marketing campaign targeting high school students in Medford, Massachusetts. It is part of a strategic citywide plan to reduce underage alcohol consumption. Developed by and for teens, IA2SD aims to change perceived social norms about drinking alcohol by helping students say no to alcohol and binge drinking.

IA2SD utilizes Short Message Service (i.e., text messaging) on mobile phones to provide teens with real-time support to make healthy decisions related to underage drinking. Youth can text a five-digit short-code (used specifically for texting) with any of the following keywords: Excuse, Fact, Choice, or TADD.

  • Texting Excuse produces reasons not to drink and suggested ways to get out of peer pressure situations.
  • Texting Fact elicits facts about underage alcohol use
  • Texting Choice elicits words of empowerment (e.g., It’s your life; it’s your decision) and alternatives to drinking (e.g., Go bowling at [the local] Bowladrome).
  • Texting TADD produces a description of the three options above.

IA2SD was developed using a social marketing framework: an audience-centered approach to developing campaigns using techniques borrowed from commercial marketing. IA2SD teen team members worked closely with adult advisors to develop a social marketing plan that adhered to social marketing benchmark criteria.

With funding from SAMHSA’s Service to Science Subcontract to Build Evaluation Capacity of Evidence-based Interventions, IA2SD will make the following evaluation enhancements designed to substantiate the use of SMS-based social marketing to address underage drinking among teenagers:

  • Implement a case-control evaluation design, using more systematic sampling and recruitment of teen participants, and refined outcome measures
  • Assess fidelity to the IA2SD program protocol
  • Seek IRB approval to implement the case-control study and associated data collection procedures
  • Conduct a cost-benefit analysis



Karen Rose
Medford Board of Health
85 George P Hassett Dr., Rm 311
Medford, Massachusetts 02155

Linda P. Kelley
Channel Surfing - Program Director
Partnership for Community Schools in Malden
238 Highland Avenue
Malden, MA 02148