Did you know according to a recent study by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University (CASA Columbia) in New York City, schools today are often hubs of drug-dealing activity? The study reports more than 40 percent of high school pupils surveyed knew fellow students who were selling drugs at their schools.
As substance abuse education and prevention providers, these numbers are alarming to us. With so many outside influences on children, it has become tougher and tougher for drug prevention advocates, parents and teachers to protect them from the dangers of using drugs and alcohol. In addition to being a community resource for both parents and adults, we are committed to providing drug prevention classes through Prime for Life or DES (Drug Education School). These classes and services are good for individuals that have been charged with a simple possession, underage drinking, as well as anyone who needs to satisfy a court mandate.
The PRIME for Life drug and alcohol prevention education model that we use is an educational program developed by the Prevention Research Institute to influence behaviors using a research-based education and persuasion model. The program is designed to encourage participants to make better choices when given alternatives. The objective of the program as it relates to drug and alcohol abuse prevention is to empower students to make better short-term decisions so their long-term outcome is positive.
As approved PRIME for Life instructors for the state of North Carolina, here is a snapshot of the Prime for Life Lifestyle Risk Reduction Model that we follow:
- Prevention: The PRIME for Life model has protocols for educating youth on the risks of alcoholism and how to make what is considered “low-risk” choices when presented with peer pressure or temptation to drink alcohol.
- Reflection: Using the model, we help students look at the direct consequence of their choices. The reflection portion of the instruction allows participants to make the connection between their choices in the past and the result of those choices. The goal is to help them come to the realization on their own that making good choices leads to positive results and making bad choices often leads to negative consequences. Through this module, students think about how their choices affect not only them, but also those around them.
- Protection: The protection module is designed to help students think about the future. By working with them to set goals, we show them how goals are achievable when we make right choices today and when we make high-risk choices, we jeopardize our ability to achieve those goals.
In the weeks to come, we will be providing more educational articles and resources to bring awareness to the problem with youth using drugs and alcohol in hopes that we can do our part to encourage prevention.