Scare tactics don’t work

Drug Free Action Alliance (DFFA), Columbus, Ohio, has created a booklet, “Why Scare Tactics in Drug Prevention Messaging Don’t Work.” This short, easy-to-read booklet breaks presents four reasons why fear-based approaches should not be used in drug prevention and includes cited research.

Why Scare Tactics in Drug Prevention Messaging Don’t Work

Research shows that increasing fear about drugs and alcohol without providing clear action steps can actually increase use, according to DFFA, a non-profit charitable organization founded in 1987 that delivers up-to-date information and develops initiatives that serve the immediate needs of those working to prevent substance abuse. “This happens when we arouse too much fear and provide too simple of an action message,” DFFA explains.

DFFA’s new eight-page booklet outlines the reasons that scare tactics (fear arousal) is an ineffective prevention strategy.

Schools, coalitions, families and anyone else interested in effective evidence-based drug prevention, will find this to be an invaluable resource, according to DFFA.

The booklets are available individually for $2.50, which includes shipping, or in packages of 50 for $75 plus standard shipping and handling charges ($10 up to $100; over $100 order is 10% of total cost).

For more information or to place an order, go to Why Scare Tactics in Drug Prevention Messaging Don’t Work.

Editor's note: United Methodist Social Principle ¶162L “Alcohol & Other Drugs” states that because the use of illegal drugs, as well as illegal and problematic use of alcohol, is a major factor in crime, disease, death and family dysfunction, the denomination supports educational programs as well as other prevention strategies encouraging abstinence from illegal drug … with Scripture as a guide.

United Methodist Resolution #3042 “Alcohol & Other Drugs” states that God’s saving grace offers wholeness to each individual. “The church has a responsibility to recognize brokenness and to be an instrument of education, healing and restoration,” the resolution emphasizes.

The resolution sets forth key concepts:

  1. “First, we must be committed to confronting the denial within ourselves that keeps individuals and nations from overcoming their struggle with alcohol and other drug abuse.”
  2. “Second, the alcohol and other drug problem must be understood as a social, economic, spiritual and health problem.”
  3. “Third, the church has a fundamental role in reorienting the public debate on alcohol and other drugs by shifting the focus from punishment to prevention and treatment.”

The Rev. Cynthia Abrams, General Board of Church & Society director of the Alcohol, Other Addictions & Health Care program, supervises an “action network” that provides legislative updates, educational resources and identifies opportunities to act on issues involving alcohol, tobacco and other drugs, gambling and pornography. Information focuses on addiction recovery, prevention and regulation. She issues “action alerts” periodically through e-mail.

Joining the Alcohol & Other Addictions Action Network is free: contact Donna Brandyberry, (202) 488-5641.

Letter to the Editor