Why Don't Scare Tactics Work?

This week, we will be focusing on why scare tactics in drug prevention messaging DON'T WORK, according to the Drug Free Action Alliance (DFAA).

Reason #1: People are hardwired to defend against negative messaging. Teens, like all human beings, have natural defenses to feelings of fear. As fear increases, defenses also increase to help control the intense emotions that are triggered. This is a normal and healthy human response.

When faced with scare tactics, a teen's natural defense might be:

DENIAL - "It won't happen to me."

AVOIDANCE - "This is just too scary, I am not going to think about it."

BLUNTING OR NUMBING - "I don't understand."

COUNTERING WITH SKEPTICISM - "They're just trying to manipulate me, I'm going to ignore them." Or "I know people who do it, and they seem fine."

MAKING FUN OF THE MESSAGE - "This is your brain on drugs. This is your brain on drugs with a side of bacon."

For more information or to place an order for the scare tactics manuals, please visit https://www.drugfreeactionalliance.org/scare-tactics.