How Can We Improve Drug Prevention Programs?

Recently in our post Do Drug Prevention Programs Work? we took a look at a few popular drug prevention programs and discussed if they were effective, especially in comparison to the high costs many drug prevention programs have on our federal government, tax payers, and communities and schools.

While no one has figured out the magic formula for success for winning the “war on drugs and alcohol”, there are surely things we can do that would make drug prevention programs more effective.

Below Are Some Ways We Can Improve Drug Prevention Programs:

1. Get Parents, Teachers, and Caregivers Involved: Many drug prevention programs do not actively involve parents, teachers, or caregivers for youths at risk for drug and alcohol use. Mandating that parents/caregivers be involved with drug prevention programs may increase the likelihood of success, since many parents and caregivers may be unaware of the potential their child may have to use drugs and alcohol.

2. Teach Coping Methods and Life Skills: People often turn to drugs and alcohol for dealing with problems, even though drugs and alcohol create larger problems and often make other problems worse.

Teaching people at risk for using drug or alcohol coping skills such as stress management, releasing anger and other emotions, problem solving, decision making, and other necessary life skills may reduce the temptation or need for someone to use drugs or alcohol.

3. Introduce Recovered Addicts to Those at Risk: If you speak to someone who’s been through drug or alcohol addiction and recovery, you’ll learn a lot about why you shouldn’t do drugs pretty quickly.

Small focus groups of teens and someone who has overcome addiction might have an affect on them to either not use drugs or alcohol in the first place, or if they have experimented with drugs and alcohol already encourage them to stop or seek help if necessary before the problems get worse.

4. Implement Drug Prevention Throughout the Community: Many communities as a whole do not participate in drug prevention. While some programs may exist, they only typically involve a small group of organizations in a community. If churches, local businesses, and other organizations in a community became more active in advocating the prevention of drug and alcohol abuse it would create better recognition on staying drug and alcohol free as well as give those who use drugs or alcohol more encouragement to quit.

5. Create Awareness: Many people do not realize how many people are affected by drugs and alcohol and what the threats are. It is estimated there are over 2 million alcohol and drug related deaths, many of which could have been preventable, each year. If people were aware of how many lives have been destroyed – and how many could be saved – it could make a big difference.

6. Reduce Costs: Billion dollar commercial campaigns and random drug testing are not the answer to preventing drug and alcohol abuse. There are many things that can be done to reduce costs without losing any effectiveness. Parents interacting and communicating with their teens for example costs nothing at all.

Do you have any ideas on what could be done to prevent drug addiction and alcohol abuse? Any suggestions on how drug prevention programs could be more successful? Share it in the comments below.

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