Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)

Communication and Education

Public Education

Of the four communications strategies, public education is probably the most common. Some familiar public education slogans include "Friends don't let friends drive drunk" and "A mind is a terrible thing to waste."

The goal of public education is to increase knowledge and awareness of a particular health issue. This awareness can often support the development and success of programs and policies that address the problem. Public education can also be an effective way to increase awareness about a new or existing law, publicize a community-based program, and reinforce instruction taught in schools or community-based organizations.

Multimedia prevention campaigns typically combine public service announcements on television and radio with billboards and posters. Research shows that these campaigns are often the most cost-effective way to reach large groups of people. However, they’re not an effective way to change individual behavior.1

Some examples of public education environmental strategies to address underage drinking include:


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