|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, Mar. 06, 1997
Mona W. Brown|
New Research-Based Guide Now Available
to Help Prevent Teen Drug Use
- Prevention programs should be designed to enhance "protective factors" and move toward reversing or reducing known "risk factors."
- Prevention programs should target all forms of drug abuse, including the use of tobacco, alcohol, marijuana, and inhalants.
- Prevention programs should include skills to resist drugs when offered, strengthen personal commitments against drug use, and increase social competency (e.g., in communications, peer relationships, self-efficacy, and assertiveness), in conjunction with reinforcement of attitudes against drug use.
- Prevention programs for adolescents should include interactive methods, such as peer discussion groups, rather than didactic teaching techniques alone.
- Prevention programs should include a parents' or caregivers' component that reinforces what the children are learning—such as facts about drugs and their harmful effects—and that opens opportunities for family discussions about use of legal and illegal substances and family policies about their use.
- Prevention programs should be long-term, over the school career with repeat interventions to reinforce the original prevention goals. For example, school-based efforts directed at elementary and middle school students should include booster sessions to help with critical transitions from middle to high school.
- Family-focused prevention efforts have a greater impact than strategies that focus on parents only or children only.
- Community programs that include media campaigns and policy changes, such as new regulations that restrict access to alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs, are more effective when they are accompanied by school and family interventions.
- Community programs need to strengthen norms against drug use in all drug abuse prevention settings, including the family, the school, and the community.
- Schools offer opportunities to reach all populations and also serve as important settings for specific subpopulations at risk for drug abuse, such as children with behavior problems or learning disabilities and those who are potential dropouts.
- Prevention programming should be adapted to address the specific nature of the drug abuse problem in the local community.
- The higher the level of risk of the target population, the more intensive the prevention effort must be and the earlier it must begin.
- Prevention programs should be age-specific, developmentally appropriate, and culturally sensitive.
- Effective prevention programs are cost-effective. For every dollar spent on drug use prevention, communities can save 4 to 5 dollars in costs for drug abuse treatment and counseling.
Presented in a question and answer format, the guide addresses important issues regarding prevention, including, the origins and pathways of drug abuse and how these concepts are used to develop prevention intervention strategies. The guide summarizes the results of research related to the prevention of drug abuse and explains the importance of this research for teachers, parents or others concerned about preventing drug use among youth. The guide also answers questions commonly asked by community leaders and prevention practitioners in a way that they can use these research findings to design and implement programs to address drug abuse problems at the local level.
The guide provides 10 examples of programs that have been scientifically studied and have been found to be effective in preventing youth drug use. The programs are categorized as universal (reaching the general population), selective (targeting groups at risk or subsets of the general population), or indicated (designed for people already experimenting with drugs or exhibiting risk-related behaviors).
Also included in the guide is an extensive list of resources to get supporting information on drug abuse prevention or to speak directly with scientists who have developed and/or evaluated effective prevention programs.
NIDA supports over 85% of the world's research on the health aspects of drug abuse and addiction. The Institute also carries out a large variety of programs to ensure the rapid dissemination of research information and its implementation in policy and practice.
Copies of the prevention guide can be obtained free of charge from the National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information (NCADI) at 1-800-729-6686. Additional information on prevention and other research activities of NIDA can be found on the NIDA Home Page at http://www.nida.nih.gov.
Note: HHS press releases are available on the World Wide Web at: http://www.dhhs.gov.