Drug Prevention Programs

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In the modern world, it is easy to fall into addiction with alcohol and drugs. When we see movies and listen to music, the TV stars seem to promote an unhealthy way of life. In recent years youth does not see anything special in drug addiction, when it is everywhere around. Drug prevention programs have an aim to prevent and decrease the possibility of teenagers to be interested in drugs and to become addicted to them. Mostly those programs are school-based, because the earlier the teenagers will know the horrifying truth about the drugs, the less percentage of students will face such a problem. There are family-based programs and the university-based ones. There are different methods and approaches to reach people and to change their attitudes towards drugs. In this paper, we will research the various drug prevention programs (family-based, school-based, etc.) utilized today and examine why some programs have been more successful than others in fighting with the drug abuse.

Nowadays, there is a wide variety of programs, which are intended to prevent alcohol and drug usage in schools and other communities. “Projects to raise awareness are based on the assumption that the members of the community are not sufficiently aware of the problems associated with drug use in their neighborhood” (Linney, Wandersman, 1992). If people have more information about the drug danger, this can help to acknowledge society and develop the new strategies in groups of friends, family, schools and neighbors. Modeling a drug-free behavior is the best way to change beliefs and myths about the drug consumption. Prevention efforts are successful only if they can build the negative attitude towards something that they are fighting with.

Among the ways and programs against drugs, there are such methods as media campaigns, designs and other publicity. In schools, awareness programs are introduced through the teachers. Such programs can be effective only if they are a part of a broader based prevention efforts. If a teacher knows signs of the drug addiction, he or she can identify the use of alcohol or other drugs and try to stop this. Interactive programs are much more superior to the non-interactive ones. Interactive programs have an ability to affect drug use behaviors and are successful in both tobacco, alcohol, marijuana, and other illicit drugs. “The effectiveness of the interactive programs was not only replicated, but increased with a subset of 56 high-quality experimental programs” (Bukoski, 1997). The same strategies are implemented in the universities, but the older the possible drug addicts are, the harder it becomes to recognize and reduce the opportunity of drug abuse.

Family-based programs, as other group prevention activities, focus on the target within one family. Prevention professionals give all the needed information to the family members. Having information about the drug abuse, family can foresee and prevent drug addiction of a family member. Family is the basis of a society that is why its influence is much more powerful than that of school or other social groups. Parent skills training programs are one of the most popular. According to Karol L. Kumpeer, “they are effectively implemented and used in families with a main target – universal family skills training programs are implemented in every family regardless of risk status or at-risk groups of families” (Kumpeer, 1997).

Some of the programs concentrate on the problem itself but not on the surrounding. For example, The Center of Substance Abuse Prevention (CSAB) is thought to be the nation’s leading agency, which main target is to improve the quality and availability of substance abuse prevention services. Its aim is to reduce the number of problems associated with alcohol, tobacco and drugs in the society. Its unique method lies in the partnership with National Endowment for the Arts. They are concerned that the art gives young people better things to do than drugs, and they are helping youth to learn skills that will be useful in life (Randall, 1997).

Youth got used to the thought that alcohol and marijuana are okay to be used, and they will not cause any negative effects. That is why, the first step in the prevention strategy is to change such an attitude and to convince teenagers and elder groups of people that drug and alcohol consumption has negative effects on health and the whole state of mind. While there are many different drug prevention programs, they work more effectively in combination. “Research has suggested that the effectiveness of prevention activities increases when the activities focus on more than one area: that is, when individuals and subgroups are targeted through more comprehensive prevention efforts that focus simultaneously on the family, the school, and the community” (Kumpeer, 1997). Since 90s, when such programs started to be implemented on practice, they have transformed into broader educational methods with own comprehensive strategies. Nevertheless, any program can fully reduce the possibility of drug addiction because there are risk-groups that cannot be eliminated.

To sum up, we can say that drug prevention programs become more popular in recent ages. There are different approaches on the different social levels, such as family, school, university, etc. The effectiveness of the method lies in its ability to recognize and to stop possibility of drug abuse in the one social group. The greater success can be achieved if several methods are combined in the different social groups. The attitude towards drugs and alcohol changes, when the whole surrounding is against it and proves this point of view with facts.

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