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Strategies for Fighting Meth
     

Prevention in Schools
   
  What is prevention?
   
  Why is prevention important?
     
  How do prevention programs work?
       
  Are there different types of prevention programs?
       
  How do we know which children are at risk for drug use?
       
  How can we use our knowledge of "risk factors" and "protective factors" to create effective drug prevention programs?
       
  Are there effective drug abuse prevention programs in Illinois?
       
  Where can I get additional information on drug prevention strategies?
       
  In Depth: How can we keep children from using meth?
       
  In Depth: Is there any funding, training, or technical assistance for meth prevention strategies?
       
What is prevention? Back to top
 

When speaking about methamphetamine, prevention refers to activities designed to prevent people, especially young people, from using methamphetamine.

   
Why is prevention important? Back to top
 

Preventing drug use before it starts is the most effective way to eliminate the problem. By encouraging young people to develop their intellectual, personal, and social skills, drug prevention programs produce benefits beyond the immediate goal of preventing drug use. Prevention programs define positive norms for young people in the school and the community, rather than simply offering a short-term alternative to risky behavior. Children exposed to quality prevention programs are more equipped to make positive choices in all areas of their lives and to become productive members of society.

In short, it is better to prevent than to heal. Prevention yields lasting positive results. Prevention shows young people how to make and embrace healthy choices by giving them something to say "yes" to.

   
How do prevention programs work? Back to top
 

Effective prevention programs operate on as many levels as possible. For example:

  • "School-based" prevention focuses on children's social and academic skills and aims to enhance peer relationships, self-control, coping skills, and assertiveness.
  • "Family-based" prevention focuses on strengthening family relationships, increasing parenting skills and communication, and developing active parental roles.
  • "Community-based" prevention works with civic, religious, law enforcement, and government agencies to enhance the anti-drug message and positive social behaviors. This often includes the development of policies or regulations, media campaigns, and community awareness programs. To find out more about one form of community-based prevention, the formation of community-based anti-drug coalitions, visit Methnet's Community Coalitions page.
   
Are there different types of prevention programs? Back to top
 

Yes. Different types of prevention programs have been developed to address different levels of meth exposure. Experts divide prevention programs into three general types:

  • "Universal" prevention programs promote overall health and well-being among young people who have not yet used methamphetamine or become involved in other risky behaviors.
  • "Selected" prevention programs target specific groups of young people who may be at risk of using methamphetamine. In some cases, these groups may have been exposed to methamphetamine already.
  • "Indicated" prevention programs intervene with young people who have already used drugs and are behaving in ways consistent with addiction. These programs are long-term and intense.
   
How do we know which children are at risk for drug use? Back to top
 

To prevent drug use, we must understand what causes drug use in the first place. In fact, studies show that drug use has no single cause. Rather, a number of factors determine whether children choose to use drugs or avoid them. Factors that tend to make drug use more likely are called "risk factors," while factors that tend to make drug use less likely are called "protective factors."

For more information on Risk and Protective Factors, click here.

   
How can we use our knowledge of "risk factors" and "protective factors" to create effective drug prevention programs? Back to top
 

Effective prevention strategies are designed to lessen "risk factors" and increase "protective factors." Parents can use information on risk and protective factors to help them develop healthy preventive actions. Schools can use this information to strengthen learning and encourage a positive school environment. Community leaders can assess their community risk and protective factors to adequately deliver resources and services.

   
Are there effective drug abuse prevention programs in Illinois? Back to top
 

Yes. The Illinois Department of Human Services (DHS) is a strong supporter of prevention programming. The Bureau of Substance Abuse and Prevention offers resources across the state to community-based alcohol and drug prevention programs. The bureau provides research, evidence-based approaches, funding, and technical assistance. Illinois' prevention community network includes a comprehensive mix of local, regional, and state programs. The network consists of a variety of prevention providers, including educational institutions, nonprofit organizations, and treatment centers.

   
Where can I get additional information on drug prevention strategies? Back to top
 


The National Institute on Drug Abuse

North Central Regional Educational Laboratory

Office of National Drug Control Policy

Kansas Methamphetamine Prevention Project

   
In Depth: How can we keep children from using meth? Back to top
 

The Minnesota Department of Education has identified the following promising prevention strategies:

Promote the Skills, Knowledge, and Values of Individual Students

  • Teach refusal skills.
  • Teach pressure-resisting skills.
  • Teach decision-making and problem-solving skills.
  • Teach goal-setting skills.
  • Teach interpersonal skills (listening, friendship making, etc.).
  • Teach the health, social, and legal consequences and risks of alcohol, tobacco, and other drug (ATOD) use.
  • Enhance self-esteem.
  • Promote personal understanding and sharing of feelings.
  • Promote identification and appreciation of one's skills and talents.
  • Promote devaluation of chemical use and affirmation of being chemical-free.
  • Develop prosocial values.
  • Develop educational commitment and aspiration.

Promote Positive School Climate

  • Adopt clear ATOD policies.
  • Develop normative expectations of non-use.
  • Develop a caring community.
  • Promote the involvement of students in activities in school and/or community.
  • Involve students in youth service or service learning in school and/or community.

Empower Parents

  • Help parents develop a commitment to play a primary prevention role with their children.
  • Teach parents how to establish rules, standards, and effective discipline regarding chemical use.
  • Teach parents how to support, nurture, and affirm children.

Mobilize the Community

  • Establish a community-based prevention task force.
  • Collect community data to monitor trends in ATOD use.
  • Pay attention to racial/ethnic factors in creating prevention strategies.
  • Use data to plan, evaluate, and modify prevention efforts.
  • Provide consistent and frequent messages discouraging use.
  • Place emphasis on changing adult ATOD use, attitudes, and behavior.

(Minnesota Department of Education, Community Education/Learner Services. Prevention and Risk Reduction Unit. Promising prevention strategies: A look at what works. St Paul, MN: February 1992. pp. 12-13.)

   
In Depth: Is there any funding, training, or technical assistance for meth prevention strategies? Back to top
 

Yes. Please consult the following resources:

The Center for Prevention Research and Development at the University of Illinois offers a wide variety of services such as training and consultation, grant writing, program development, and database management.

The Illinois Alcoholism and Drug Dependence Association (IADDA) is a statewide association of treatment and prevention organizations. IADDA administers youth-led prevention programs, including Operation Snowball.

The Illinois Department of Human Services is a strong supporter of prevention programming. The Bureau of Substance Abuse and Prevention offers research, evidence-based approaches, funding, and technical assistance for prevention programs.

The Illinois Drug Education Alliance is a statewide grassroots organization that offers guidance to parents, youth, schools, and communities that are developing prevention initiatives.

Prevention First, Inc., provides current research and training on substance abuse issues. They also offer an extensive prevention library.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration offers a lengthy list of funding sources.

 

 

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