Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Using SMS as a harm reduction strategy

SMS 125The RAGE (Register And Get Educated) project undertaken by a group of researchers including Belinda Crockett, Helen Keleher and Ruth Klein, explored the feasibility of text messages as a means of communicating harm reduction messages about alcohol and other drugs to young people residing in the City of Knox.  The Study findings were published in Youth Studies Australia (Vol. 32: Iss.N3).

Almost 700 12-26 year olds registered to receive a series of text messages about tobacco, cannabis, ecstasy, alcohol and speed over a period of five months.

The data revealed that the text messages were well received in terms of content, language used and the times at which the messages were sent. Respondents reported gaining new knowledge, with some evidence of a shift in attitude towards specific drugs.

This would suggest that mobile phone technology is an effective means of communicating health messages to young people, with potential to increase their knowledge of drugs and influence attitudes towards specific drugs.

Youth Studies Australia is an online, peer-reviewed journal providing research-based information on issues affecting Australians from early adolescence to young adulthood.  The journal aims to present youth issues and research in a way that is accessible and reader-friendly, but which retains scholarly integrity.

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