What is being Done to Prevent Youth Substance Abuse?
These days there is a focus on preventing youth substance abuse. It is important to understand what supports are out there for students and young adults, particularly if you are in a role to help guide students to them. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, prevention is a key principle in protecting today’s youth from the dangers of drug abuse.
Although schools have always been involved in prevention of substance abuse, recently there are more proactive programs available. This includes:
- telling the truth about drugs,
- treating the causes of drug abuse such as social issues and social isolation,
- decreasing the gap between students in different classes,
- using programs to educate students and teachers on risk factors rather than on the drugs themselves, and
- teaching students who to go to for treatment and who can help.
This is a different approach from what schools traditionally use. The new approach uses less scare tactics and more prevention methods.
Teachers are now undergoing training in recognizing the signs and risk factors rather than training to recognize the drugs themselves. Districts and states are working with teachers in an effort to head off drug addiction before it becomes a problem. By educating teachers in how to identify and reach at risk youth, they hope to prevent young adults from becoming addicted.
Community outreach programs are becoming more popular especially in at risk communities. Again, the focus is on identifying youth that are at risk rather than those that have substance abuse problems already. It is meant to catch those who are headed into substance abuse before they become abusers.
There are now programs for teaching positive parenting in place. These programs teach:
- communication skills between parents and their children,
- establishing an open door policy,
- encouraging positive behaviors,
- setting reasonable limits, and
- allowing teens to talk and express who they are in respectful ways.
These programs are designed for all parents not just those who consider their children at risk. There is no specific type of young person who is particularly at risk for becoming addicted to drugs and alcohol. Recognizing this is becoming more important than simply focusing on those who were traditionally at risk for drug and alcohol problems.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse is sponsoring one of the largest online prevention and awareness online programs. Their latest attempt to help ease the problem of youth drug abuse is their National Drug Awareness Chat Day. This is to unite the United Institute of Health, the National Institute on Drug Abuse, and the Food and Drug Administration, along with teens, parents, and teachers. The purpose is to shatter myths and raise awareness about the growing issues with drug abuse.
Although prevention is key to solving today’s drug and alcohol problems, it does not always work. It is important to know where and how to seek treatment when it is necessary. For more information on implementing a prevention program or to seek treatment options call us at 1-800-895-1695.