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.
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
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
6.) Adoption of conventional norms about drug use.
Factors associated with increasing risk for teenage abuse of alcohol and
1.) Chaotic home
environments, particularly in which parents abuse substances or suffer from mental
2.) Ineffective parenting, especially with children with difficult temperaments or conduct
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
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.
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).
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.
Important guidelines for a successful alcohol and other drugs prevention program.
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.
prevention efforts have a greater impact than strategies that focus on parents only or
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.
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.
programs should be age-specific, developmentally appropriate, and culturally sensitive.
The following are
critical areas for prevention planners to consider when designing a program:
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.
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.
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.
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
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. Frischs, Psy.D. Recovery book seriesFrom Insanity to Serenity.