Promoting Substance Use Prevention Strategies for Youth and Young Adults
Vanguard collaborates with this essential SAMHSA program in all aspects of health communications — from research through evaluation — related to preventing substance use disorders among youth and young adults. Our multifaceted support includes formative research, where we learn where the conversations are going around substance use and misuse, what the trends are, and what strategies can make a difference to strengthen communities. Vanguard has managed the Communities Talk to Prevent Alcohol and Other Drug Misuse initiative since 2014, which connects thousands of organizations and institutes of higher education to annual event planning stipends that supports community collaborations around prevention. To support this work, we develop a robust partnership engagement plan to bring important perspectives into our planning, from NGOs to federal agencies to foundations. From 2022 to 2023, we brought 14 new organizations on board to support SAMHSA messages and outreach activities. Our responsibilities also encompass directing the digital strategy; we created a four-part online learning series to advance the dialogue about prevention topics, collaborating with essential thought leaders and experts. Our webinar that focused on fentanyl use, for example, featured panelists from the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Office of National Drug Control Policy — it had more than 1,000 live participants. We also designed a podcast series to feature prevention work at the local level.