(And provide evidence informed alternatives)

Long term Youth AOD researcher and advocate, Cameron Francis, took to the radio yesterday to caution the newly appointed Ice Taskforce against throwing money at TV ad campaigns to solve problematic ice use.

Speaking on behalf of Dovetail center for AOD research and practice development, he also encouraged policy makers (and the public) to think differently about what makes a good drug awareness campaign.

Here are some key messages that Dovetail (and YoDAA) hope policy makers will consider. 

Treatment is available. There is hope. This should be the core message of any widespread campaign. “I’d like to see a hopeful message that can empower families and communities to see that we can do this, we can actually address this problem” says Mr Francis.

Young people are more likely to try a drug if they think it is widely used. Avoid widespread campaigns that give the perception that Meth is a drug all young Australians are doing (the reality is most are not).

Think local. "Australia is such a diverse country with so many diverse communities, we do need to tailor responses quite locally."

Look at the evidence on what works and what doesn’t work in Australia. Montana Meth Project has been getting quite a bit of airtime of late as a US based campaign that relies on graphic images and shock tactics to underscore its message. Two major studies into the campaigns efficacy show that it has probably contributed more to Meth use than less. Cameron Francis urges the taskforce to look to Australian research on what works for illicit drug prevention.

Community solutions for community problems. "There’s a definite argument for smaller and more targeted campaigns; if there’s a particular community that’s experiencing a problem with methamphetamine, then often those solutions lie within that community."

We'd love to hear your communities soloutions to methamphetamine use. Contact us at advice@yodaa.org.au. Like to know more? You can listen to an excert of the Radio National interview here.