The goals of the campaign are (1) to counter the belief commonly held by youth that, when it comes to drugs, “everyone is doing it”, and (2) to reset the norms and perceptions in the school by reporting the factual rates of substance use among students. Social norms theory is based on the idea that a person’s behavior is influenced by their perception (whether accurate or inaccurate) of what is “normal” or popular in their peer group. Youth especially have a tendency to overestimate the rate at which their peers use substances, leading to the false perception that substance use is the norm. The In Our School campaign challenges and corrects this misperception by providing data to show that most students choose not to use substances.
The In Our School campaign was developed using Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) data for Dover Middle School and Dover High School. We used the YRBS findings for the percentage of students who used substances (prescription drugs not prescribed to them, alcohol, marijuana, or e-cigarettes) in the past 30 days. We then used these results to calculate the percentage of students who did not use a particular substance. We focused on the past 30 days for high school students and lifetime for middle school students. This percentage was converted into a number of students out of 20 (conversion to a number of students out of 10 also displays well and may work better depending on your data). By flipping the statistic around to instead show how many students choose not to use substances, the In Our School campaign emphasizes the fact that the majority of students don’t use substances.
To learn more about the campaign and the implementation steps you can download the In Our School Toolkit Addendum.
If you are a current toolkit owner and would like access to all of the editable files including posters, rack cards, parent and teacher discussion guides, an ambassador program, social media posts and more e-mail DoverY2Y2dover.nh.gov.