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Health Promotion Projects on Substance Abuse

Path-finding Adventure Project – an integrated screening and non-labeling secondary prevention program for students at high risk of substance use

Project video: (for Public Service Excellence award)

The Path-finding Adventure Project (PAP) is a unique non-labeling and positively-framed secondary prevention program tailored-made to prevent high-risk behaviours (e.g. drug use) among secondary students in Hong Kong. It is a collaborative project of Centre of Health Behaviours Research, CUHK (2011-18), Fire Services Department (2011-18) and The Boys’ and Girls’ Clubs Association (2014-18). The Project is supported by the Beat Drug Fund (2011/14:BDF101018, 2015/16:BDF140001; 2016/18:BDF150003).

The primary targets of PAP are Secondary 2-3 school students at high risk of substance use, who are positively screened by using the Secondary Prevention Screening Index (SPSI), which was fully validated in the PAP (n=7,456).

PAP can both reduce risk factors (e.g. risky attitudes related to substance use) and enable protective factors associated with substance use among students. Such goals are achieved through a screening exercise plus a series of theory-based interventions, aiming to foster students’ personal growth (e.g. promoting resilience) and to encourage students finding their own future directions (a path-finding component). Strong support is given by trained fire services personnel as mentors. Parents and teachers are involved to create supportive family and school environments. Anti-drug messages are disseminated in a diffusive and non-threatening manner throughout the activities. There are seven types of events (i.e. mentor training workshops, induction adventure activities, personal growth adventure workshops, path-finding workshops, intensive training camp, parent training workshops, and teacher support handbook), each comprised of several activities.

Upon 2015/16, a total of 380 S.2-3 students and 102 parents from 11 schools participated in the secondary intervention. A total of 182 fire services personnel have been trained to be mentor of the students.

As shown by the results of the previous PAP, the Project effectively identifies students who are at high risk of substance use and is able to change their attitudes (e.g. perceived behavioural control, drug-avoidance self-efficacy) and enhances protective factors (e.g. self-esteem, resilience, academic aspiration). It increases teachers’ ability to support these high-risk students. It improves relationship between such students and their family, and enhances fire services personnel mentors’ ability in supporting such students.


PAP is one of the very few well evaluated, non-labeling and positive framed secondary anti-drug interventions conducted in HK. It is adventure-based and tailored to suit the subculture of the high risk students, and was hence able to engage them effectively. It is also fully theory-based. A conceptual framework guided design of events and activities. A full range of stakeholders, including teachers, parents and NGO staffs, work closely together. Most importantly, it is evidence-based and is built on previous experiences gained by an interdisciplinary team that has worked closely together in the last few years.


Funded by Beat Drug Fund (Ref: BDF101018, BDF140001, BDF150003)

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