The success of any health promotion program depends on how the program is implemented about method and the target population. The success of any intervention, which is determined by evaluation, prevails if the desired effect of the program is achieved. Evaluating programs is a very important step in the project cycle because it helps to assess if the general and specific objectives of the program have been achieved (Hughes, Black & Kennedy 2008, p. 5-6). There are numerous reasons why health promotion programs are not successful, but this paper will focus on only 3 reasons about the heroin overdose prevention and education campaign program (Horyniak et al. 2010).
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To begin with, the aim of the heroin overdose prevention and education campaign program is very unclear because the reader is left to wonder about the safety and acceptability of heroin. In addition, the term overdose is ambiguous and needs clarity. The success of this program therefore may be compromised because the IDUs do not know what is meant by overdose. In addition, it is unclear whether heroin injection is acceptable or not regardless of the user’s intention.
The study design used for the evaluation of the heroin prevention and education campaign program was a pre-post assessment design. In evaluating the effects of an intervention, a valid and reliable study design that takes the confounding factors into account is more desirable. This ensures that the effects obtained (if any) are solely due to the intervention and not due to the confounding factors. Alternatively, the presence of confounding factors can be another reason why the success of a program may be impeded. This happens if these factors are not in alignment with the program’s objectives. A control group is therefore necessary. The gold standard randomized controlled trial is a rigorous kind of study design with a high degree of internal validity due to blinding and randomization (Nutbeam & Bauman 2006, p. 53-66). Since this method requires a large sample, is expensive, and associated with ethical issues, it was not preferred as an ideal study design for evaluation. A less rigorous study design is the cross-sectional design and this could not have been used because the evaluation was not at a certain point in time. In addition, data had to be collected twice.
There are some sources of measurement error in the pre-post study design used to evaluate the heroin overdose prevention and education campaign program (Horyniak et al. 2010). One source is the sampling method and procedure used. In this evaluation study, there was absolutely no randomization, which is applied when recruiting a sample based on the pre-calculated/pre-determined sample size (Windsor et al.2004, pp. 215-263). Also, there was no distinct description of the sample used in terms of the sampling procedure and sample size. Such issues in sampling are a reason why the internal and external validity of a study is compromised and so is the success of any health promotion program. Sampling is a very essential step in any study design and the sample should be articulately derived and described. According to the heroin prevention and education campaign program, the sample size used at the beginning of the program was not the exact sample size used at the end of the study. Therefore, the results obtained may not have been accurate hence internal validity might not have been achieved. In addition, due to the poor sampling procedures used, the results of this study could not be generalized to all IDUs in Victoria. The interaction effect (Campbell & Stanley 1993, p. 6) of testing is the main threat to this since the sample used before the intervention was not the same sample used after the intervention. Based on the reasons discussed above, the Horyniak et al. (2010) study was not a success hence the reason for inconsistency in feedback.
Campbell, DT & Stanley, JC 1963, Experimental and quasi-experimental designs for research, Houghton Mifflin, Web.
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, pp. 5-11.
Hughes, R, Black, C & Kennedy, NP 2008, ‘Public Health Nutrition Intervention Management: Process evaluation’, JobNut Project, Trinity College Dublin.
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Nutbeam, D & Bauman, A 2006, Evaluation in a nutshell: a practical guide to the evaluation of health promotion programs, McGraw Hill, N.S.W.
Windsor, RA 2004, ‘Formative & impact evaluation’, in Windsor RA, Clark N, Boyd R & Goodman R, Evaluation of health promotion, health education and disease prevention programs, 3rd edn, McGraw-Hill, Boston, pp. 215-63.