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Engaging Youth in Substance Misuse Prevention within State Prevention Systems: Provider Perspectives

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Objective: Engaging youth in planning, developing, and implementing substance misuse prevention ef- forts can improve those efforts. However, specific local policies and systems constrain youth engagement practice. This study examines how to engage youth in substance misuse prevention within state prevention systems. Methods: In the qualitative study, semi-structured interviews with 13 prevention providers in the North Carolina prevention system were conducted via video call and transcribed and analyzed via thematic and codebook approaches. Procedures are reported according to the Consolidated Criteria for Reporting Qualitative Research (COREQ) checklist. Results: Providers viewed youth engagement favorably yet most- ly did not differentiate between youth-targeted prevention initiatives and youth-engaged initiatives. Find- ings reveal how state-level decisions, such as definitions and funding policies, support and challenge how providers implement youth engagement. Conclusions: To encourage youth engagement, state prevention systems should clarify for providers the distinction between prevention efforts targeted to youth and those that engage youth in planning and implementing and define which activities are desirable and what the role of youth should be in the activities. Finally, prevention providers need support for youth-engaged approaches to prevention, specifically training for youth and adult allies and opportunities for knowledge-sharing.

Keywords: HEALTH PROMOTION; STATE PREVENTION SYSTEM; SUBSTANCE MISUSE; SUBSTANCE MISUSE PREVENTION; YOUTH ENGAGEMENT

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Wake Forest School of Medicine, Department of Family & Community Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC, United States 2: Department of Social Sciences and Health Policy, Division of Public Health Sciences, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC, United States 3: Department of Implementation Science, Division of Public Health Sciences, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC, United States 4: Department of Psychology and Neuroscience, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC, United States 5: Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, NC, United States. Jonna Daniel, Division of Public Health Sciences, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC, United States 6: Division of Public Health Sciences, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC, United States

Publication date: July 1, 2022

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  • Health Behavior and Policy Review is a rigorously peer-reviewed scholarly bi-monthly publication that seeks manuscripts on health behavior or policy topics that represent original research, including papers that examine the development, advocacy, implementation, or evaluation of policies around specific health issues. The Review especially welcomes papers that tie together health behavior and policy recommendations. Articles are available through subscription or can be ordered individually from the Health Behavior and Policy Review site.
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