NCDA Using Social Media in Ganja Youth Awareness Campaign

Photo: JIS Photographer Executive Director of the National Council on Drug Abuse (NCDA), Michael Tucker addressing a JIS Think Tank on the Ganja Youth Awareness Programme.

Story Highlights

  • The National Council on Drug Abuse (NCDA) is taking to social media to reach out to young people in a Ganja Youth Awareness Programme.
  • Speaking at a recent JIS Think Tank, NCDA Executive Director, Michael Tucker, said it is imperative to meet the young people where they are and through a campaign that is designed specifically for them.
  • Mr. Tucker said that the campaign is the result of the various consultations, which informed the main messages such as ‘Ganja Know the Facts, Know how to Act’ and ‘Talk the Truth. Future Comes First.’

The National Council on Drug Abuse (NCDA) is taking to social media to reach out to young people in a Ganja Youth Awareness Programme.

The initiative targets teenagers in the 13-18 age group.

Speaking at a recent JIS Think Tank, NCDA Executive Director, Michael Tucker, said it is imperative to meet the young people where they are and through a campaign that is designed specifically for them.

“It is important to not just speak their language but also go to them where they can be found, so we are going to use a lot of social media messaging such as Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram,” he explained.

The Executive Director said that in preparing for the campaign, focus group sessions were done islandwide with young people.

“We asked them questions about what influences them and what message will resonate with them if we want to speak to them about issues that may affect them. What came to us were resounding responses like ‘do not tell us what to do, ‘tell us what are the consequences of what we do’ and ‘what are the facts around what we are doing.’ They also said that we should give them the background information and allow them to decide what they want to do,” he outlined.

Mr. Tucker said that the campaign is the result of the various consultations, which informed the main messages such as ‘Ganja Know the Facts, Know how to Act’ and ‘Talk the Truth. Future Comes First.’

The NCDA Executive Director said it is important to tell young people the truth about drug abuse and provide them with information so that they can make educated decisions.

“We are telling them to look at their future, make decisions that will ensure that they have a bright and prosperous future, and that ganja can stymie that future that they are looking towards. Ganja can cause problems and those are the facts” he added.

The programme, which involves a partnership with the International Narcotics and Law Enforcement office of the United States Embassy, will also involve posting messages on billboards at town centres throughout the country.

“There are also fact cards that are going to be given out at various events that will have pertinent messages for the young people. Many of them are catchy, interesting and easy to remember using bright colours,” Mr. Tucker said.

There will also be a radio jingle, which is expected to appeal to the targeted group.

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