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Campaign Program to Prevent Heroin Overdose Essay

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The consistency of funding of a health promotion program lies in its ability to create change. Evaluation of health promotion programs is one way of identifying this change. Also, evaluation enables planners to make wise decisions at the moment to improve a program, and in future when designing similar programs (Marris & King 2007). This paper is about the evaluation of the heroin prevention and education campaign program with a focus on the process of administering intervention, prevailing outcomes, and possible recommendations.

Literature on health promotion programs that solely focus on increasing awareness as a means to prevent heroin overdose is scarce. Most of the studies show an interactive approach during the administration of an intervention. One such study is by McGregor (2001) whose evidence-based intervention approach showed that heroin users responded positively to relevant health education messages developed using a participatory approach that was intersectoral. Similar intersectoral studies are by Wood, Gerostamoulos & Drummer (2007), Sporer (2003), and Moore & Dietze (2005). In comparison to these studies, the present evaluation study design would yield a better impact if it encompassed an integrated approach to include the assessment of behavior change.

The findings from 16 IDUs and 9 KIs revealed the value of the program. The respondents indicated that the campaign had led to an increase in awareness and a promotion in a discussion about heroin overdose. While the study’s main focus was to increase knowledge, literature from other studies showed that an increase in knowledge alone did not lead to behavior change. Since the long-term aim of this program was to reduce heroin overdose, a different evaluation approach would include an assessment of this by assessing behavior change.

Running the program statewide or nationally would not be cost-effective since the program does not guarantee change. However, the inclusion of an element that ensures change would make the program more effective for implementation nationwide. In other related health promotion programs as seen above, the inclusion of an element on behavioral change makes a health promotion program more valid and effective.

Results of the study should be generalizable to the larger population through scientifically determining the sample size, and not by merely carrying out a pilot study first. A pilot study is a small study that is used to ensure that the tools and methods used are appropriate for the study hence checking for internal validity (NC3RS 2006). A pilot study is an ideal approach to planning for resources hence avoiding wastage and instead of putting limited resources into good use.

According to Nutbeam & Bauman (2006), process evaluation is concerned with questions that are related to the implementation of a program. Impact evaluation on the other hand is concerned with questions on the goals of a program (Nutbeam & Bauman 2006, p. 31). The heroin prevention and education campaign program has incorporated both types of evaluations. Since process evaluation is concerned with the routine activities of a program and the methods and equipment used to ensure the success of these daily activities, it has been exhibited while examining the relevance and effectiveness of campaign messages and materials, as well as attrition rates in the heroin prevention and education campaign program. Impact evaluation, whose focus is on the achievement of the program’s objectives, is evident in the evaluation of any differences in knowledge before and after the intervention.

Process evaluation can be used to explain the findings of impact evaluation. Referring to the Horyniak study (Horyniak et al. 2010), certain components of process evaluation foresaw the findings of impact evaluation. One such component is the exposure of participants to the intervention. Avoidance of delay in the rollout of key messages was a process that ensured that the participants were timely exposed to the intervention, the key messages were administered. Another process evaluation component is the attrition rates. These explain the findings in terms of the decreasing sample size hence the varied sample size before and after the intervention.

References

Horyniak, D, Higgs, P, Lewis, J, Winter, PD, & Aitken, C 2010, ‘An evaluation of a heroin overdose prevention and education campaign’, Drug and Alcohol Review, vol. 29, p. 5-11.

Marris, BV & King, B 2007, Evaluating Health Promotion Programs, The Health Communication Unit, Toronto.

McGregor, C, Ali, R, Christie, P & Darke, S 2001, ‘Overdose among heroin users: evaluation of an intervention in South Australia’, Addiction Research & Therapy, vol. 9, no. 5, pp.481-501.

Moore, D & Dietze, P 2005, ‘Enabling environments and the reduction of drug-related harm: re-framing Australian policy and practice’, Drug and Alcohol Review, vol. 24, no. 1, pp.275-84.

National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research (NC3RS) 2006, Why do a pilot study? Web.

Nutbeam, D & Bauman, A 2006, Evaluation in a nutshell: a practical guide to the evaluation of health promotion programs, McGraw Hill, N.S.W.

Sporer, K 2003, , BMJ Group, vol.326, Web.

Woods, J, Gerostamoulos, D, & Drummer, O 2007, Heroin deaths in Victoria, 2006, Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine & Department of Forensic Medicine, Monash University.

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