Top 10 drug and alcohol campaign ideas — prevention

Ideas for non-profits and government organizations looking to run drug prevention campaigns. Remember that it’s best to start early and that kids are open to messages until puberty. But these ideas are good preventative ideas for any age of your target audience.

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1. Organize meetings with each media representative from the newspapers, radio and TV stations in your area to introduce yourself and your program.  Create a file of deadlines, method of submission, publication calendar, contact person / back-up person and available PSA time.  Send frequent thank you notes to your media contacts.

2. Prepare a media kit.

3.  Organize locate youth to produce campaign slogans and logo items (t-shirts, buttons, tickers, etc).  Use brainstorming sessions to agree on a logo and run a poster contest for the logo design. Find sponsors.  Upload all your materials to the web.  Be sure to be present in social media like YouTube , My Space and Facebook.

4. Run an art contest with the local art gallery or art council and get people of all ages involved and all media – writing, drawing, illustration, photography, etc.  Display entires in a county office building for one month.  Hold a reception for participants and award certificates to winners.

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5. Organize local youth to produce a PSA (public service announcement. Intergrate the curriculum with a high school IT teacher to teach youth how to produce TV-quality materials.  Use the help of a production company as a sponsor.

6.  Combine with local law enforcement agencies to produce a documentary with a local television station.

7.  Facilitate Friday evening movie nights featuring films about addiction where experts, parents and youth discuss issues before the film.

8. Develop a storytelling day with the local library and have children who are impacted by drugs write stories and share them (if they want to) with other children by reading them aloud.

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9. Broadcast your message via billboard. Make it readable.  Keep your words short.  Run a contest for the billboard design.

10.  Piggyback on monthly National campaigns to attract added interest.

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About the author
Lee Weber is a published author, medical writer, and woman in long-term recovery from addiction. Her latest book, The Definitive Guide to Addiction Interventions is set to reach university bookstores in early 2019.


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  1. This is great stuff. I think it’s incredibly important to reach kids as early as possible. I read something recently that every $1 spent on prevention education saves $26 in future addiction costs.

  2. Thanks, Eli. I’ll be working on developing a reputable treatment directory sometime soon. For now, the Substance Abuse Health and Services Administration (part of Health and Human Services) provides location information on substance abuse treatment here:

    Kevin – I think that we’re talking more about what to do BEFORE we get to the point of asking “How did I get here?”

  3. Knowledge is power at any age. Using group discussions using the books as the basis for the discussion is so powerful. It’s builds on the idea of “how did I get here?” and why do I feel the way Im feeling as in “I am so addicted and how did I get this way?”

  4. Sheryl…I’m going to check out the books you mentioned. My daughter’s father struggles with addiction (heroin/cocaine), and when she’s a bit older, I’d like to be able to explain to her what her father is dealing with. However; I disagree with your statement about people choosing to do drugs, but not the addiction. To me they’re one in the same, we live in a world of information, everyone knows that if you do heroin, it’s a package deal with addiction. This isn’t 80-100 yrs ago where people didn’t know the extent of destruction drugs can cause. I think besides the things listed above, a resource for rehab needs to be included. People can refer addicts they know or educate themselves. Hopefully if you know someone who is struggling with addiction, they can overcome.

  5. I think that reading a child a book on addiction, especially in a library or group setting, is a GREAT prevention idea. Thanks for the reference and good luck with your project, Sheryl!

    Any other ideas?

  6. Addiction is a proven brain disease. If you or someone you know or love is an addicted person, I would like to suggest 3 excellent books on addiction.

    The first book is I Am Your Disease (The Many Faces of Addiction). The second book is Slaying the Addiction Monster – An All-Inclusive Look at Drug Addiction in America Today. The third book is a children’s book, geared toward 5th grade and up. It is The Addiction Monster and the Square Cat. All 3 books are available on as well as the author’s website.

    We have to reach kids at a younger and younger age, and The Addiction Monster and the Square Cat teaches kids about drugs and addiction in a way that they can understand. The story is a fictionalized version of the author’s son’s long struggle with, and ultimate death from, drugs. The story is told by the sassy but lovable family cat.

    Remember, people may choose to do drugs, but they never choose addiction.

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