These messages are for use by service staff who are working with young people who have disclosed their use of drugs and remain intent to continue. The messages above remain relevant and efforts to support reduction and cessation of their use should continue alongside these harm reduction messages.
Recent work which tested messages related to so called “legal highs” with young people in the UK found the following:
- Challenging false assumptions about so called “legal highs” – eg: legality, safety and control.
- Emphasising the idea that taking them involves a huge leap of faith.
- Realistic, credible information.
- Specific, identifiable negatives can resonate – eg: comedowns.
- Short-term, immediate risks are more likely to engage interest.
- Vanity is a potential lever for some.
- Impact on future prospects resonates amongst those making decisions about their future ( 15-18 years) eg- restrictions on career choice and travel.
- Young people are sensitive on being patronised on this issue.
- Melodramatic or unrealistic portrayal of the risks are easily ignored.
- Long-term health risks are intangible and distant.
- Fundamental attribution error is common: bad things happen to ‘other people’, and likely to be the result of their own decisions.