Brief Program Description

4-H REAL Media:

  • increases your knowledge of advertising techniques used to sell alcohol, tobacco, and other drug products;
  • develops your skills in counter-arguing and critical-thinking in response to ATOD messages;
  • helps you to apply these skills and techniques to create your own anti-substance use messages.

The activities are designed to be engaging and challenging. They encourage you to reflect and offer your thoughts via open-ended questions and opportunities to further explore your interests. Each module ends with an interactive challenge that allows you to apply your new skills.

Specific Outcomes

4-H REAL media is a digital adaptation of the face-to-face Youth Message Development (YMD) program that receives a rating of EFFECTIVE on a variety of evidence-based programs registries including NREPP.

Evaluation studies demonstrate that YMD:

  • reduces pro-drug attitudes
  • reduces intentions to use drugs
  • increases ability to resist pressure to use
  • Evaluation studies demonstrate that YMD
  • changes adolescent drug use norms
  • increases personal efficacy to critically counter media influence
Youth life skills program

To learn more about the 4-H REAL media program, watch this video!

How it Works

4-H REAL media consists of five levels (lessons) that focus on the following topics:

LEVEL -1 An introduction to media and advertising with content on costs and ethics
LEVEL -2 Media reach and persuasion strategies used by advertisers to sell ATOD products
LEVEL -3 Claims used in ATOD messages and counterarguments used in anti-ATOD messages
LEVEL -4 Production techniques used by advertisers including setting, colors, font size, and object placement
LEVEL -5 The active application of content learned in lessons 1-4 to the development of a poster or 30-second video that includes an anti-substance use message
Keepin it real How it works


To purchase REAL media go to SHOP 4H

Additional Information

SAMHSA’s National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices (NREPP) YMD Profile:


National Health Education Standards and 4-H REAL media:


Technical Assistance Contact

Training, Program Information, & Materials Contact: