The PAUSE Program

Peer-to-Peer Messaging to Combat Fentanyl

The Fentanyl Free Communities Foundation’s innovative PAUSE Communications Program empowers teens to make life-saving decisions through peer influence and science. Discover how this program combats the dangers of fentanyl.

Adolescence is a crucial stage of development when teenagers transition from familial influence to a broader social sphere. During this period, peer influence becomes immensely powerful. The PAUSE communications program has harnessed this influence by targeting the “pause” – the critical moment of contemplation before a young person decides to consume an illicit substance. By leveraging peer-to-peer influence, PAUSE reinforces life-saving messages and promotes harm-reduction strategies within peer groups.

Grounded in behavioral science, the PAUSE program focuses on the decision point (the pause) when adolescents consider using illicit substances. Research shows that peers significantly impact teenagers’ decisions and behaviors during this developmental phase. By delivering our messaging through peers, we ensure that it resonates deeply and effectively with young individuals.

The PAUSE program emphasizes the dangers of fentanyl, a synthetic opioid that can be lethal in minute doses and is often undetectably laced into other illicit substances. This approach equips adolescents with the knowledge to abstain or utilize harm-reduction methods when faced with the critical decision to use an illicit substance.

Recognizing the pivotal role of youth influencers, the Fentanyl Free Communities Foundation has developed a robust onboarding system to evaluate and recruit these influencers. These young individuals are compensated for delivering our message, whether in person or via social media. The PAUSE program provides them with up-to-date information from trusted sources like the CDC, NIH, and SAMHSA, ensuring they are well-equipped to be key communicators.

The foundation allows influencers to communicate in their own language and style while monitoring messaging for accuracy and relevance. We track trends and engagement through data analytics to continuously optimize the program’s effectiveness. This comprehensive approach ensures that our educational and awareness messages are impactful and resonate deeply with the target audience.

Our inaugural collaboration with Bridgemakers, a youth-founded and led nonprofit focused on empowering young people through education and mentorship, exemplifies the strength of collective effort. Bridgemakers specializes in developing business opportunities and entrepreneurship for youth, aligning perfectly with our initiative. 

Implementing the PAUSE communications program has required meticulous planning, legal compliance, and expert collaboration. Managing this program involves overseeing youth influencer contractors, ensuring all messaging complies with our standards, and handling all data securely in compliance with privacy laws.

The Fentanyl Free Communities Foundation’s board of directors comprises individuals with immense expertise and experience in public safety initiatives. Their commitment and significant investment in this program have enabled the foundation to create and administer the PAUSE program effectively and make it available to other organizations. By harnessing behavioral science, we can laser-focus messaging directly on adolescents, equipping them with essential information to make informed decisions. This initiative lays a strong foundation for a future where young people are better informed and equipped to deal with the dangers of fentanyl.

Your support is crucial in expanding the reach and impact of the PAUSE program. By contributing to this initiative, you help empower young influencers to deliver life-saving messages to their peers, ultimately fostering a safer, more informed youth population. Join us in our mission to combat the fentanyl crisis and protect the next generation.

If you or a youth you know is interested in participating in the PAUSE program, please visit our application page to be considered.

The Fentanyl Free Communities Foundation highlights content related to the Fentanyl crisis. We are sharing these stories as part of our educational efforts. We are committed to raising awareness and positively impacting the fight against fentanyl poisoning in our communities.

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