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Youth & Alcohol, Messages & Media (YAMM) Campaign

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I Introduction

The Ontario Public Health Association (OPHA) has been granted funding
to manage a bilingual, province-wide, social marketing campaign on the
risks of harmful drinking among youth. The Youth & Alcohol,
Messages & Media campaign gratefully acknowledges Health Canada for
this funding and its support.
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II Youth and Drinking

In Ontario, 41% of Grade 11 students reported binge-drinking (drinking
five or more drinks on one occasion) "at least once in the month prior
to" the Ontario Student Drug Use Survey (Adlaf et al., Ontario Student
Drug Use Survey, Centre for Addiction & Mental Health, 2003). Heavy
drinking is associated with a constellation of other problems including
impaired driving, injuries, unplanned or forced sexual activity,
violence, and, as recent research points out, chronic diseases like
cancer (Babor et al., Alcohol, No Ordinary Commodity, 2003).

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III Alcohol Messages

Alcohol promotion in Ontario is rampant. Unfortunately media messages
addressing health and safety issues are rare. Currently, health
messages to youth about the risks associated with alcohol relate mostly
to impaired driving only and are normally delivered at the local level.
While some regions of the province have identified messaging and
campaigns which address other risks and safety strategies, there has
been no coordinated provincial campaign to date.

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IV Youth and Alcohol, Messages and Media (YAMM) Campaign

Health Canada has funded a two-staged provincial campaign to reduce
problematic alcohol use among Ontario's English and French-speaking
youth, ages 15-18, by increasing knowledge of effective strategies to
reduce risk and increase safety among youth, parents, and health
professionals. This two-staged campaign is set to run from October 2004
to March 2007.

Stage 1 (October 2004 - September 2005) of this campaign, managed by Parent Action on Drugs, saw the

  • Development of a network of youth, researchers, health promoters,
    educators, and social marketers with the goal of producing a major
    campaign to reduce dangerous drinking among youth ages 15-18
  • Research and publication of a Best Practices report on effective
    communication of alcohol and safety messages and identified strategies
    to reduce the problems. This report is available at
  • Successful hosting of an energetic two-day conference in June, 2005
    called "Risky Drinking: The Un-conference--Creating Youth to Youth
    Messages." This conference was attended by youth, communication
    researchers, health promoters and social marketers on how to move from
    research to practice. The presentations made at the June, 2005
    conference are available to view online at
  • Publication of a project report and DVD which will be used to guide
    Stage 2 of the project. Ordering information through Parent Action on
    Drugs is available at

Stage 2 (October 2005 - March 2007) of this campaign, managed by the Ontario Public Health Association, will see the

  • Production of Public Service Announcements (PSAs) in English and French
    to increase awareness of dangerous drinking among youth and air them on
    radio and television.
  • Development, launch and maintenance of a bilingual website for youth,
    parents and health professionals which will provide information about
    dangerous drinking and provide practical strategies to reduce risk and
    increase safety.
  • Creation of public information resources for communities, in both
    languages, to support and promote the campaign and to assist parents
    and professionals in addressing dangerous drinking at
  • the local level.
  • Engagement of a dynamic partnership of youth, substance abuse
    prevention specialists, researchers, marketers and broadcasters in
    planning, carrying out and disseminating the campaign.
  • Development of an evaluation component and summary report to measure the impact of the campaign.

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 V Conclusion

Please visit http:// for further details about this
campaign. Also, check out an upcoming forum, Alcohol: No
ordinary commodity 3: Emerging evidence on the links between alcohol
promotion and risky drinking, taking place on March 3, 2006, in
Toronto. For detailed information and registration, please visit