Knowledge is more than power. It’s empowering. To change the narrative about drugs and alcohol abuse, we gave adults and kids a tool that opens minds: facts. And we didn’t let limited budgets stand in the way. Instead, we used research to bring down people’s guard.
63.9% decrease in underage drinking
For decades, underage drinking was trending down nationally, but the rates in the state of Utah were climbing to alarmingly high rates. Concerned, the Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control partnered with R&R Partners to create a media and education campaign called Parents Empowered. It relied on the research-based premise that parents are the biggest influence on their child’s decision to drink or not. And it worked. The campaign continues to work today, as shown in the state’s continued downward trends, like regular underage drinking and experimenting with binge drinking.
Since its launch in 2009 through 2021, it is estimated that 32,560 fewer Utah youth have ever tried alcohol, 18,805 fewer are regular underage drinkers, and 12,382 fewer have experienced binge drinking. In 2021, we achieved the nation’s all-time lowest rates of underage drinking at 4.3% and, despite achieving the lowest rate in the nation, rates continue to decrease faster than the national average.
31.1% decrease in adult tobacco use
The Determined campaign was developed with WayToQuit.org as a comprehensive, boots-on-the-ground campaign aimed at connecting with individuals and communities disproportionally targeted by Big Tobacco. The campaign provided culturally appropriate messaging across all campaign elements – videos, social media, a new landing page, personalized logos, streaming audio, and physical assets for community events. All with the goal of changing the narrative surrounding tobacco use in Utah.
The work empowered each community to embrace the things that truly define them – their culture and individuality – instead of the prevalent health disparities that exist. Many things may define these cultures, but tobacco use isn’t one of them. Despite now being lowest in the nation, rates of adult tobacco use continue to decrease faster than the national average; a persistent 31.1% decrease in adult tobacco use.
From 2011 to 2019, youth vaping increased in Utah by an alarming 553%. Together with WayToQuit.org, we were up against what the surgeon general had recently declared an epidemic. We didn’t have near the same budget as the vape makers, and our audience was kids who weren’t going to respond to Just Say No. Instead, we designed campaigns based on the idea that parents and caregivers were the biggest influence on kids when it came to vaping. We needed to cut through the misinformation and the misleading ads and convince the parents of the research. See Through the Vape was launched in 2019, and by 2021, there were nearly 100,000 visits to the website and 58 million impressions. Utah’s youth vape rates declined by 37%, which made Utah’s rate 31% lower than the national average.
Between April 2020 to April 2021, deaths in America from drug overdoses reached an all-time high. Utah reported a staggering number that had been increasing since before the pandemic. The state was in dire need of a way to help its population understand the dangers of prescription drug misuse as well as the information to make better decisions. Public and private partners worked with R&R to create a media and education campaign with the goal of increasing prescription drug awareness by 10%.
Backed by research, the Know Your Script campaign expanded education on not just opioids, but all prescription drugs, and resulted in a 40% increase in prescription medication safety, which exceeded the goal by 30%, and a 53% increase in preventative behavior related to prescription medication use.
Know Your Script
Using creative solutions to solve complex, pressing issues, R&R has fought time and again to prove that drug and alcohol abuse could decrease through empowering role models who offer knowledge and encouragement. And when drug abuse and alcohol abuse decrease, lives are saved.
decline in Utah’s youth vape rates
increase in prescription medication safety
increase in preventative behavior related to prescription medication use