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Co-production with young people to tackle alcohol misuse
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Dr Jill Clark
Clark J, Laing K
Drugs and Alcohol Today
epub ahead of print
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. The purpose of this paper is to present the learning gained from undertaking research activities in co-production with young people in order to tackle alcohol misuse in local communities.
. The findings are drawn from an evaluation of an alcohol misuse change programme in which opportunities to learn about and conduct research were provided to young people through co-production. The evaluation was guided by a theory of change, and a portfolio of evidence collected which included feedback from the young people and project staff about their experiences.
This paper demonstrates that young people can be empowered to take on roles as agents of change in their own communities by learning more about research processes. However, the empowerment does not come from undertaking research training per se, but by being able to work co-productively with researchers on issues and questions that are of direct relevance to themselves and which are framed within a change agenda. Shared values, strong relationships and reciprocal knowledge exchange enabling flexible and relevant responses to real-world problems and questions are needed.
. The paper suggests a reflexive and co-productive learning, design and delivery approach to involving young people in research. It challenges notions of young people as a problem in terms of alcohol misuse, and rather situates them as part of a solution that is aiming at longer-term transformational community change. This is significant in that much of the existing evidence concentrates on individual intervention.
Special Issue: Co-production in substance use research
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