What is youth substance abuse prevention?

Earlier today, I blogged about risk and protective factors.  These factors are the primary targets of effective prevention strategies used in family, school, and community settings. The goal of these strategies is to build new and strengthen existing protective factors and reverse or reduce risk factors in youth.

How do prevention strategies increase protection and decrease risk? 

In the Family - Prevention strategies can strengthen protective factors among children by teaching parents better family communication skills, appropriate discipline styles, firm and consistent rule enforcement, and other family management approaches including monitoring skills

In northeast Seattle, the Strengthening Families program at Eckstein Middle School is one tested and effective program that helps parents learn these skills.  Soon, the Prevention WINS coalition will launch a social norms campaign to support positive parenting behaviors. 

In School - Prevention programs in schools focus on children’s social and academic skills, including enhancing peer relationships, self-control, coping, and drug-refusal skills. 

In northeast Seattle, Eckstein Middle School has integrated Life Skills Training, a tested and effective prevention curriculum, into 6th grade health and other classes.

In the Community - Prevention programs work at the community level with civic, religious, law enforcement, and other government organizations to enhance anti-drug norms and pro-social behaviors. Many programs coordinate prevention efforts across settings to communicate consistent messages through school, work, religious institutions, and the media. 

In northeast Seattle, the Prevention WINS coalition is composed of more than thirty community members dedicated to working together for this purpose.  Within the next year, the coalition will increase activities to reduce sales of alcohol to minors.  The coalition will also launch activities to advocate for the enforcement of youth-related drug and alcohol laws and for legislation that would reduce drug and alcohol access among minors.

More information about substance abuse prevention is available on the National Institute on Drug Abuse's website.