Substance Abuse Prevention - Community and School-Based Prevention Programs

Community and School-Based Prevention Programs

There are numerous community-based prevention programs that have been thought to be helpful in educating children and families about the harms of substance abuse. There are mediating factors of classroom-based substance abuse that have been analyzed through research. There are specific conclusions that have been generated about effective programs. First, programs that allow the students to be interactive and learn skills such as how to refuse drugs are more effective than strictly educational or non-interactive ones. When direct influences (e.g., peers) and indirect influences (e.g., media influence) are addressed the program is better able to cover broad social influences that most programs do not consider. Programs that encourage a social commitment to abstaining from drugs show lower rates of drug use. Getting the community outside of the school to participate and also using peer leaders to facilitate the interactions tend to be an effective facet of these programs. Lastly, teaching youth and adolescents skills that increase resistance skills in social situations may increase protective factors in that population.

Life Skills Training (LST) was developed by Gilbert J. Botvin in 1996 and revised in 2000, and again in 2013. LST is significant in giving adolescents with skills and information that are needed to resist social influences to substances, including alcohol, cigarettes, and other illicit drugs.The goal of this program is to increase personal and social competence, confidence and self-efficacy to reduce motivations to use drugs and be involved in harmful social environments. LST was structured to provide adolescents knowledge for fifteen 45-minute class periods during school for the first year. Ten booster sessions are given in the second year and then five booster class periods in the third year. The original outcome data was taken from a controlled trial of mostly white seventh grade students from various schools. A significant reduction in drug and polydrug use was found within this population with long-term effects even after three years. LST has been modified to be beneficial for minority students as well.

Project ALERT includes educational handouts, lesson plans, phone support, downloadable resources, and posters that were designed to motivate seventh and eighth grade students to not use alcohol, tobacco, or marijuana. This program's goal is to give students motivation to resist engaging in drug use by giving them assertiveness tools. Two evaluations of Project ALERT, first in the 1980s and then in 2003, showed that there were significant positive results in reducing risk factors and drug use. A study done by St. Pierre, Osgood, et al.,(2005) found no positive effects which could be influenced by implementation differences. Analysis has shown that the benefits of this program exceeds the costs.

Community programs outside of school settings that aim to prevent alcohol, tobacco, and illicit drug use have insufficient evidence that would show their effectiveness. Many of the community programs for those under age 25 are only linked to one randomized controlled trials which in most cases is not enough to conclude that they are effective. Focus of most community-based programs is on changing community policies and norms such as stricter policies on underage access to and consumption of alcohol.

Read more about this topic:  Substance Abuse Prevention

Famous quotes containing the words programs, prevention and/or community:

    [The Republicans] offer ... a detailed agenda for national renewal.... [On] reducing illegitimacy ... the state will use ... funds for programs to reduce out-of-wedlock pregnancies, to promote adoption, to establish and operate children’s group homes, to establish and operate residential group homes for unwed mothers, or for any purpose the state deems appropriate. None of the taxpayer funds may be used for abortion services or abortion counseling.
    Newt Gingrich (b. 1943)

    ... if this world were anything near what it should be there would be no more need of a Book Week than there would be a of a Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children.
    Dorothy Parker (1893–1967)

    When a language creates—as it does—a community within the present, it does so only by courtesy of a community between the present and the past.
    Christopher Ricks (b. 1933)