Substance use and young people: the potential of technology

Chambers, M., Connor, S.L. and McElhinney, S. (2005) Substance use and young people: the potential of technology. Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing, 12(2), pp. 179-186. ISSN (print) 1351-0126


There is widespread concern about alcohol and drug use and abuse among young people in the United Kingdom, Europe and the United States. Evaluations of current drug and alcohol education approaches have mixed findings and some methodological difficulties. This paper reports on exploratory research to explore the potential of technology to provide information and support to young people regarding substance use and abuse. Eight focus groups were conducted with young people (n = 78) and three with key informants (n = 22). The findings revealed that technology has potential to provide information on this topic, and that young people are critical of some of the more traditional methods of provision. The young people were prepared to experiment with technology, felt competent to do so, and made suggestions of information they would like. These findings are discussed and recommendations made for future research in the area.

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