Using SMS as a harm reduction strategy: An evaluation of the RAGE(Register And Get Educated) project

Belinda Crockett, Helen Marie Keleher, Annette Robyn Rudd, Ruth Klein, Beth Locke, Veronique Roussy

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    The RAGE (Register And Get Educated) project explored the feasibility of SMS (Short Message Service) as a means of communicating harm-reduction messages in relation to alcohol and other drugs to young people residing in the City of Knox, Victoria. Almost 700 young people aged 12-26 years registered their mobile phone numbers to receive a series of text messages about five drugs1 over a period of five months. Twenty invitations were sent to randomly selected individuals from the total number of registrations to participate in the evaluation, which involved qualitative phone interviews at the end of each round of messages. A further nine young people participated in a final series of evaluation questions conducted via phone at the end of the project. The evaluation data revealed that the messages were effective in terms of content, language used and the times at which the messages were sent. Young people reported gaining new knowledge, and there was some evidence of a shift in attitudes towards specific drugs. While the sample size is small, this evaluation suggests that mobile phone technology is an effective communication tool for health messages in terms of convenience, anonymity, accessibility and relevance for young people. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)26 - 36
    Number of pages11
    JournalYouth Studies Australia
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2013

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