Dear Speak Now Community Partners,
Speak Now is an effort of the Colorado Department of Human Services, Office of Behavioral Health focused on providing evidence-based information and resources to parents and caregivers regarding youth substance abuse prevention in Colorado.
Speak Now addresses the use of alcohol, marijuana, the misuse of prescription drugs and other drugs among Colorado's youth. It's an educational resource for parents and caregivers on how to start an ongoing conversation with youth and young adults about the risks of alcohol, marijuana, prescription medications and other drugs.
There are some upcoming changes to Speak Now from the state level that we wanted to make you aware of, particularly if you are currently utilizing the Speak Now materials and website. OBH will be partnering with CDPHE and working with a new marketing firm to create a statewide parent/trusted adult campaign and a youth prevention campaign that will address MULTIPLE health outcomes. This means the current parent (Speak Now)/trusted adult (Responsibility Grows Here) and youth campaigns (Find your moment) will likely be phased out in the next 6 months to a year. The new campaign will launch sometime mid-year 2020.
This new collaborative campaign will promote positive health behaviors among young people through social marketing efforts. Through this work we are aligning healthy youth messaging in order to leverage funding, align media opportunities; streamline messaging to youth, parents and other trusted adults in the lives of youth. We expect these efforts to impact multiple health outcomes such as tobacco, marijuana, opioid, alcohol use and risky sexual behaviors. These new campaigns will be developed following all 10 best practices for social marketing strategies.
Why make a change?
Over the last few years, the majority of campaigns reaching youth about healthy choices have developed similar messaging and used similar marketing tactics. These campaigns approach healthy decision-making using similar research on adolescent development. Partnership for a Drug Free America, I Rise Above, Do You, Protect What’s Next, Find Your Moment, etc... all approach youth prevention of substance use using aspirational messages that connect youth with the future they wish to create for themselves. Additionally, campaigns always have a shelf life of a few years. Messaging gets stale over time and campaigns like Speak Now have already been around for more than six years.
Additionally, campaigns focused on reaching parents and trusted adults have similar messages and tactics that focus on building skills to have conversations with youth about substance use. Speak Now, Partnership for a Drug Free America, Your Words Have Power, the tobacco vape campaign, all help parents, teachers, and coaches build the skills and confidence to support youth and talk about healthy choices with the youth in their lives.
Given the similarities we see across so many campaigns focused on disparate outcomes, there is an opportunity moving forward to create unified messages and strategy for youth, parents, and adults that they trust that help youth to make healthy choices for their future impacting multiple healthy outcomes.
As mentioned, the alignment for the unified messages and strategy will:
- Leverage funding
- Align media opportunities
- Streamline messaging to youth and parents/trusted adults, and
- Sustain the work as funding fluctuates
Please continue using the Speak Now materials until the new campaign is launched!
For more information about Speak Now, contact:
Sharon T. Liu
Manager, Community Prevention Programs
Our statewide community partners play a key role in extending Speak Now’s messages through engagement with parents and caregivers at the local level. To assist our community partners in their educational efforts, we have developed a community partner toolkit with meaningful and useful promotional materials for outreach extension. The toolkit materials are available in English and Spanish and can be downloaded for free by clicking the links below. If you need printed materials, simply download desired pieces and print locally.
Toolkit Resource Guide
We have also created a toolkit resource guide to help partners strategically use the materials in their community.