Technology profoundly connects young people to new knowledge, information and social communications. In designing its anti-drug programme, researchers in the Department of Rehabilitation Sciences and School of Nursing at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) have integrated creative and entertaining elements of technology into campaigns aimed at young people.
In promoting the awareness about the harmful effects of drugs on young people, two PolyU projects have received support from the Beat Drugs Fund. The projects feature mini-film package production and parent-child workshops that adopt current technologies including virtual reality (VR) and interactive robots to engage young people and raise their awareness about drugs.
These two community-based projects aim to encourage the participation of multiple stakeholders, including parents, teachers, social workers, counsellors and healthcare professionals, to comprehensively explore with young people effective approaches to combating the temptation of drugs.
The project led by Prof. Hector TSANG Wing-hong, Cally Kwong Mei Wan Professor in Psychosocial Health, Head and Chair Professor of Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, has initiated a VR-enabled mini-film package in order to effectively communicate anti-drug messages to young people.
Prof. Tsang said, “Edutainment in health communication effectively supports strategies used by rehabilitation professionals to convey messages in substance abuse rehabilitation, not only in promoting community re-integration for those with substance abuse experience but also proactively combating the temptation of drug use among young people, in particular those drugs commonly misused including marijuana and cannabidiol (CBD). The use of innovative technology including VR in providing simulated experiences of side-effects of drug abuse among the youngsters can raise their anti-drug awareness.”
The project led by Dr Katherine LAM Ka-wai, Research Assistant Professor of School of Nursing, establishes a community network by connecting nursing students with youngsters and their parents with interactive robot-assisted workshops on anti-drug awareness.
Prof. Christina WONG, Director of Research and Innovation, said, “PolyU has always been committed to creating innovations that benefit society. To help effectively promote an anti-drug message, the two funded projects fully consider the culture and preferences of young people while providing stakeholders with sustainable programmes, which are of great significance.”
Under the Beat Drugs Fund, the Regular Funding Scheme aims to support different sectors in society to propose further anti-drug projects, such as the organisation of preventive education and publicity programmes targeting the general public or specific groups; the provision of drug treatment and rehabilitation services to people with drug problems; and the conduct of research on drug abuse problems.