According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) alcohol, marijuana and over the counter medications are the most commonly abused drugs by teens (NIDA, 2018). National drug use surveys indicate that some children are abusing drugs by age 12- or 13-years-old (NIDA, 2018). Studies have shown that research-based intervention programs can reduce early use of drugs by teen (NIDA, 2018). Prevention programs try to reduce the risk factors for drug use and increase the protective factors (NIDA, 2018).
Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.) is an intervention program that uses law enforcement officers as instructors (D.A.R.E., 2018). The program emphasizes how to resist peer pressure and how to avoid drugs, gangs and violence. D.A.R.E. has implemented new techniques to remain relevant, effective and impactful (D.A.R.E., 2018). The change has included a collaborative effort between the Instructor Advisory Committee and Youth Advocacy Board to develop and implement new strategies to the D.A.R.E program. The program is also planning to add the opioid epidemic to the curriculum in 2018. D.A.R.E. is now integrating more activities to get students to interact with the subject matter (Harlow, 2018).
Other programs that discourage drug use include Narcotics Overdose Prevention and Education (NOPE), which is a program used to fight the opioid problem. NOPE uses police officers to talk to students with the intent of making them understand how opioid use can lead to death. Participants are shown videos of funerals of those who passed away due to opioid use (Harlow, 2018). The program shows teens what happens when you mix over the counter drugs together or with alcohol and how it effects your body (Intervention Services, 2018).
Promoting School Community University Partnership to Enhanced Resilience (PROSPER), is an intervention program for middles schoolers. PROSPER uses a holistic healthy adolescence approach to drug use. A seven-year follow up revealed participants in the PROSPER program were less likely to engage in substance abuse. A study done by Penn State University revealed that the PROSPER program helped to reduce a lifetime use of methamphetamine to 41 percent, to reduce a lifetime use of cocaine and marijuana to more than 30 percent, and to reduction a lifetime use of prescription drugs to 20 percent (Harlow, 2018). The program uses university cooperative extension educators as well as school, agency and parent representatives in the community (Miller, 2017). These partnerships help to implement the evidence-based substance use-prevention program for middle school youth and families (Miller, 2017). Children who participate in the PROSPER program have lower rates of substance abuse after high school graduation, according to researchers from Penn State and Iowa State universities (Miller, 2017).
Shatterproof is another evidence-based program focused on preventing drug use in children through inspiration and anti-stigma efforts (Harlow, 2018). The program talks about drugs as a disease that emphasizes treatment for people who are suffering.
Drug abuse prevention programs have been shown to be effective against drug abuse. The most effective programs should be relevant, interactive, provide practical skills and be very realistic.
For more information read “Teaching Kids About Drugs: Alternatives to Dare.”
Drug Abuse Resistance Education. (2018). D.A.R.E. Is Substance Abuse Prevention Education and Much More. Retrieved from https://www.dare.org/about-dare/
Harlow, K. (2018). Teaching Kids About Drugs: Alternatives to Dare. Retrieved from https://www.thefix.com/teaching-kids-about-drugs-alternatives-dare
Intervention Services. (2018). New Drug Education Programs, NOPE, The Program You Have Never Heard of. Retrieved from www.interventionservices.inc.com/new-drug-education-programs-nope/
Miller, M. (2017). PROSPER Program reduced young adult substance abuse by up to 41 percent. Retrieved from http://news.psu.edu/story/469935/2017/05/30/research/prosper-program-reduced-young-adult-substance-abuse-41 percent
National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2018). Preventing Drug Abuse the Best Strategy. Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugs-brains-behavior-science-addiction/preventing-drug-abuse-best-strategy