Today, it is widely acknowledged that there is a need for the community to work together in order to address the growing problem of substance abuse. Schools, in particular, have become more involved in addressing these needs through the implementation of programs that are designed to instill awareness and prevent drug abuse among adolescents. It is common knowledge nowadays that the school has a strong impact on the development of teenagers, along with familial traits and other socio-economic factors. It is in a school environment where a sense of identity, personality and self-esteem is developed and shaped.
An interview with a school official was conducted about an implemented program within their organization that address the prevention of substance abuse. In this case, the school implemented the Project Towards No Drug Abuse amongst upper level students in high school. The program was originally designed for teenagers who are at high risk for behavioral and psychosocial problems or those students who have a history of substance abuse and other behavioral problems. However, it can now be used for all students, regardless of their risk level, gender, or race. The goal of this program is to rebuild the interest of teenagers in their future and at the same time, emphasizing the importance of hard work and dedication towards schoolwork.
In this program, students explore their own feelings, beliefs, and expectations with regards to substance use. The program consists of 12 sessions with a duration of 40-50 minutes for each session. Each session is comprised of various activities that include group discussions, role playing, individual worksheets and videos. These activities are aimed at motivating students, development of social skills and instill good decision-making skills. The program consists of topics such as addiction, consequences of drug use and corrections of misconceptions. Furthermore, the program teaches active listening, management of stress, effective communication, self-control, developing self esteem, and coping skills.
The transition from childhood to becoming an adult is undoubtedly one of the most important phases as this period is besieged with challenges, trials and consists of the establishment of a personal identity. At this period in their lives, teenagers have the capacity for critical thinking and reasoning, however, it is their lack of experience which may affect their decision. Such is the case of substance abuse amongst teenagers, as they often cite reasons that include peer acceptance, low self esteem, and to escape peer and family pressures. Furthermore, substance abuse at a young age is associated with drug dependence and addiction during adulthood and this pattern was, in fact, observed across all demographic subgroups
Substance abuse is fast becoming a serious problem in the United States but throughout the past few years, the implementation of effective drug prevention programs have contributed to decreasing the number of people embroiled in drug addiction. Prevention is in fact a powerful tool that effectively reduces drug use and experts state that substance abuse among teenagers decrease when they become aware of the consequences of drug use. This awareness and understanding can be attained by undergoing a drug prevention program such as the program Project Towards No Drug Abuse. It is clear that there is no simple solution to the problem of substance abuse. However, it is evident that involvement from all sectors of society is necessary to achieve success.
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Edelman, C. & Mandle, C. (2002). Health promotion throughout the Life Span. 5th ed. St. Louis: Mosby.
Sussman, S. et al. (2002). Project Towards No Drug Abuse: A review of the findings and future directions. American Journal of Health Behavior, 26, 354-365.