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FACTS ABOUT...
IMPORTANT LESSONS FROM ALCOHOL AND OTHER DRUGS ABUSE PREVENTION RESEARCH

Dr. Steve Frisch, Psy.D. is a clinical psychologist in private practice in
Chicago, Illinois and Northfield, Illinois.

You can contact Dr. Frisch, Psy.D. at drfrisch@aliveandwellnews.com  or at
(847) 604-3290.

Recover from chemical dependency as well as its toxic impact on family members. Raise your children to choose to be alcohol and other drugs free. Learn how to in Dr. Frisch’s, Psy.D. Recovery book series.


Facts About…
Important Lessons About Alcohol and Other Drug Use Prevention For Parents to Know


As a parent, there is much that you can learn from the lessons of alcohol and other drug prevention programs. Alcohol and other drug prevention programs are designed to enhance protective factors and move toward reversing or reducing known risk factors. Protective factors are those associated with reduced potential for drug use. Risk factors are those that make the potential for drug use more likely. The following information is a must for any responsible parent to know.

Pathfinder’s Checklist
Factors associated with reducing risk for teenage abuse of alcohol and other drugs.

1.) Strong and positive bonds within a pro-social family.
2.) Parental monitoring; clear rules of conduct that are consistently enforced within the family.
3.) Involvement of parents in the lives of their children.
4.) Success in school performance.
5.) Strong bonds with other pro-social institutions, such as school and religious organizations.
6.) Adoption of conventional norms about drug use.

Pathfinder’s Checklist
Factors associated with increasing risk  for teenage abuse of alcohol and other drugs.

1.) Chaotic home environments, particularly in which parents abuse substances or suffer from mental illnesses.
2.) Ineffective parenting, especially with children with difficult temperaments or conduct disorders.
3.) Lack of mutual attachments and nurturing.
4.) Inappropriately shy or aggressive behavior in the classroom.
5.) Failure in school performance; poor social coping skills.
6.) Affiliations with deviant peers or peers displaying deviant behaviors.
7.) Perceptions of approval of drug-using behaviors in family, work, school, peer, and community environments.

Prevention programs may target a variety of drugs of abuse, such as tobacco, alcohol, inhalants, and marijuana or may target a single area of drug abuse such as the misuse of prescription drugs.

Pathfinder’s Checklist
Elements of a successful alcohol and other drugs prevention program.

1.) General life skills training and training in skills to resist drugs when offered, strengthen personal attitudes and commitments against drug use, and increase social competency (e.g., in communications, peer relationships, self-efficacy, and assertiveness).

2.) Developmentally appropriate interactive methods, such as peer discussion groups and group problem solving and decision-making, rather than didactic teaching techniques alone.

3.) Parents’ or caregivers’ components that train them to use appropriate parenting strategies, reinforce what the children are learning about drugs and their harmful effects, and that open opportunities for family discussions about the use of legal and illegal substances and family policies about their use.

Pathfinder’s Checklist
Important guidelines for a successful alcohol and other drugs prevention program.

1.) Prevention programs should be long-term (throughout 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 the critical transitions such as from middle to high school.

2.) Family-focused prevention efforts have a greater impact than strategies that focus on parents only or children only.

3.) 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.

4.) Community programs need to strengthen norms against drug use in all drug abuse prevention settings, including the family, the school, the workplace and the community.

5.) 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.

6.) Prevention programming should be adapted to address the specific nature of the drug abuse problem in the local community.

7.) The higher the level of risk of the target population, the more intensive the prevention effort must be and the earlier it must begin.

8.) Prevention programs should be age-specific, developmentally appropriate, and culturally sensitive.

The following are critical areas for prevention planners to consider when designing a program:

Family Relationships

Prevention programs can teach skills for better family communication, discipline, and firm and consistent rulemaking to parents of young children. Research also has shown that parents need to take a more active role in their children's lives, including talking with them about drugs, monitoring their activities, getting to know their friends, and understanding their problems and personal concerns.

Peer Relationships

Prevention programs focus on an individual's relationship to peers by developing social-competency skills, which involve improved communications, enhancement of positive peer relationships and social behaviors, and resistance skills to refuse drug offers.

The School Environment

Prevention programs also focus on enhancing academic performance and strengthening students' bonding to school, by giving them a sense of identity and achievement and reducing the likelihood of their dropping out of school. Most curriculums include the support for positive peer relationships  (described above) and a normative education component designed to correct the misperception that most students are using drugs. Research has also found that when children understand the negative effects of drugs (physical, psychological, and social), and when they perceive their friends' and families' social disapproval of drug use, they tend to avoid initiating drug use.

The Community Environment

Prevention programs work at the community level with civic, religious, law enforcement, and governmental organizations and enhance anti-drug norms and pro-social behavior through changes in policy or regulation, mass media efforts, and community-wide awareness programs.  Community-based programs might include new laws and enforcement, advertising restrictions, and drug-free school zones - all designed to provide a cleaner, safer, drug-free environment.

G.B.U.

Steve


Recover from chemical dependency as well as its toxic impact on family members. Raise your children to choose to be alcohol and other drugs free. Learn how to in Dr. Frisch’s, Psy.D. Recovery book series—From Insanity to Serenity.



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