With marijuana use and heroin overdoses among youth at an all-time high, the youth anti-marijuana campaign Let’s Be Blunt kicked off in Milwaukee.
The campaign relies heavily on using social media platforms, includes messages and images created by local youth, and is aimed at deterring their peers from smoking marijuana and using drugs.
Middle and high-school students created the innovative campaign during a drug-free youth education summit this past spring. The goal of the campaign is to engage youth living in Greater Milwaukee, between the ages of 12 to 17, who may be current marijuana users or have friends or family members who are users.
Research shows that youth typically start experimenting with drugs like marijuana around the ages of 12 to 13. The youth themselves suggested using social media as one of the most effective vehicles to reach them and their peers.
In addition, during the drug-free summit, as part of a media blitz contest, youth were encouraged to submit ideas around #noneedforweed and #letsbeblunt and include the most effective ways to reach their peers using messaging that would resonate with the target audience. Three winning teams were selected and their images and messages were used to create this year’s Let’s Be Blunt Campaign. Along with social media exposure, images are being displayed on Milwaukee County buses around the city.
“Young people who start using marijuana as teenagers need to know how this behavior impacts them long term. How drug use may affect how their brain, their thinking, memory, and learning functions,” said Kari Lerch, Deputy Director, Community Advocates-Public Policy Institute. “We must continue to push positive messages to young people, to educate and inform them on how to live their best lives, free of all drugs.”
To help Milwaukee’s youth avoid life-long substance abuse and beat the odds for the intergenerational poverty and іncаrcеrаtіоn, the Milwaukee County Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition (MCSAP) is focusing its efforts on strategic and targeted substance abuse intervention as part of its broader mission.