“I am more than the box you put me in.” That’s the powerful first line of the new #NoMoreBoxes campaign video featuring area high school students. The campaign that launched today is an effort to send a positive message about area youth who choose to be substance-free, rather than focusing on the small percentage affected by substance abuse.
The campaign was created by RiverValley Behavioral Health’s Regional Prevention Center after they surveyed area middle- and high-school-age students over the last year, largely focusing on drug and alcohol use — or the lack thereof. Research was conducted in cooperation with the Kentucky Incentives for Prevention.
The survey was conducted in grades 6, 8, 10, and 12 across the state in the fall of 2021.
As is detailed in the campaign video, statistics showed that the majority of students were substance-free:
- 60.5% have never vaped
- 79% don’t regularly drink alcoholic beverages
- 75.5% have never used marijuana
- 78.5% have never smoked a cigarette
- 98% have never abused prescription drugs
The campaign is dedicated to telling the positive story of those youth rather than reinforcing many of the negative stereotypes that have become prevalent.
“We hope this campaign reinforces the idea that positive messaging can make a difference. We want the young people who are choosing to remain substance-free to feel seen and heard,” said Brooke Arnold, director of the Regional Prevention Center. “There is more positive than not that exists in our communities, and we want to continue to grow the good.”
As told by various students, the video closes with the message: “I choose to be substance free, and there are more like us than you think. I am part of the majority. We are the answer for tomorrow, the part that has a plan. We are whatever we choose to be. We aren’t alone, and we are done with your boxes.
RVBH plans to really push the messaging into the community through workshops, presentations, training, and other educational opportunities. The video will also be distributed across the community via social media and email.
The video, produced by local ad and design agency Tanner+West, will also be played before movies at movie theaters for the next 6 weeks.
“We figure a lot of teens go to see movies, especially in the summertime. So for them to see their peers on the big screen, but also for adults to hear the message, it’s important,” Arnold said.
Since the RVBH RPC team focuses on drug use and prevention, they were excited to see that some statistics further indicated downward trends in drug use among youth.
Arnold said, “It is great to see that it’s a downward trend overall for the use of substances, but there’s still work to be done.”