Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Tools in the Toolbox: Five Types of Youth Substance Abuse Prevention Strategies

Goals, based on the Four Core Measures used by Federal Drug Free Community Grants:
1) To raise the average age of first use,
2) To lower the past 30 day use
3) To increase perception of risk/harm
4) To increase perception of parental disapproval

1) Community Based Prevention – Changing norms and laws favorable to substance abuse
Bylaws/Selectmen –
- Social Host bylaws to restrict underage drinking parties, fining parents (warning, $150, $300)
- Youth Diversion Program – 1st offense, child would not get arrested; would be fined $0-300, attend
educational program, do 10 hours community service (in Melrose, Waltham considering).
- A Youth Curfew, as being considered Malden, requiring unsupervised youth to be at home by 11:00pm (or could make it later). Infractions could require a fine; cannot be a criminal offense (Supreme Court).
- Economic Interventions(Raising Taxes, fines, eg, for marijuana possession, unresponsive to summons)
- Restriction of Advertising, Promotions & Retail Displays
- Tobacco-Free Environment Policies & Bylaws
Retailer-Directed (Restaurants + Grocery/Convenience/Liquor Stores)
- Responsible Alcohol Beverage Service Training
- Sticker Shock Campaigns – Placing stickers on multi or 6-packs of beer and wine to remind adults not to serve minors
- Designated Driver Program for restaurants, While out with friends, any diner who declares that they are the designated driver will receive free sodas for the duration of the meal.
- Changing Hours and Days of Sale/Conditions of Availability + Store Displays & Signs
Other Community Members
- Build Community Coalition that partners with various community sectors, such as the schools, police, PTA, faith community, medical/public health officials, parents, non-profit groups.
- Public Relations/Counter-Advertising/Newspaper editorials, etc., supporting youth SA prevention.
- Build neighborhood attachment, parents talking about how to support & keep safe every child.
- A Safe Homes of Georgetown Pledge Campaign, a Parent Team where parents meet regularly and
pledge to not allow underage drinking or drug use in their homes.
- Social Norms Marketing – Promoting messages that contain statistics about the
nonproblem behavior of a majority of people in order to encourage that behavior in others.

2) Police Policies, Practices & Programs
- Prescription Drug Drop Box – At police station to collect old & excess prescriptions.
- Website Prevention and Legal Information
- Compliance Checks – Ensuring that retailers are not selling to underage people.
- Shoulder Tap Surveys – Ensuring that adults are not buying for underage people.
- The New DARE Education Programs
- Zero-Tolerance Law enforcement/Highly Visible Community Policing

3) School-Based Prevention - Policies & Curriculum Practices
- Provide caring environment to ensure academic success &school engagement for every child.
- Build, Assess and Monitor Data by conducting Youth Risk Behavior Surveys. Use results.
- Health & Wellness curriculum, with youth risk behavior reduction as a goal/mission.
• Research-based, highly interactive, multi-modal, reflecting state frameworks,
• Comprehensive/fully coordinated K-12.
- Youth Action/Peer Group Teams – Involving older peer groups doing research projects, including focus groups, to present to younger student audiences.
- Substance Abuse Discipline Policies and zero-tolerance expectations simplified and clearly communicated, on website (as at Pentucket). Norwood has just instituted a 30 day social suspension.
- Expanded MIAA sports rule to include full calendar year of suspension from offense date.
- SADD – Students Against Destructive Decisions - . "The goal is to bring together people who want to make better decisions." Mission statement: "To provide students with the best prevention and intervention tools possible to deal with the issues of underage drinking, other drug use, impaired driving and other destructive decisions." Could produce a SADD newsletter to students, featuring safety & prevention ideas, scientific research, special events, social norms marketing, etc.
- One-TimePresentations, such as
- MADD presentations, such as one (Backstage) focusing on media images/consumer perceptions.
- By outside groups/presenters (ie, Marilyn Belmonte)
- Police, using DA or SAMSHA presentations
- School Resource Officer as a teacher & preventative presence
- Best Prom Practices:
- 1) Pre-prom educational presentations on social host liability, how to help friends, etc.
- 2) Pre-prom contract signed by parents and students regarding behavioral expectations.
- 3) An all-night after-prom party, promoted early, strongly encourage all students to attend. 2)
- 4) free transportation to & from after-prom party
- 5) Chaperones watching the door, prepared to intake kids quickly; dismiss to parents; have listing of parent tel & cell #’s. See www.sadd.org/campaign/party.htm .

4) Parent Education
- Social Host Liability, Underage Drinking, Drug Recognition and Other Workshops
- Key Informant Interviews/Presentations
- Teen Parenting Workshops, such as Staying Connected to Your Teen.
- Parent Surveys re: perceptions around youth substance abuse & hosting underage drinking events, which prevention practices they would support to help youth.

5) Family-Based Prevention re: Underage Drinking, Drugs & Strategies
- Participate/stay up to date with community coalitions, continuous education re trends, research & relevant legal issues.
- Face to face contact when children come home from an event.
- Setting clear family rules, expectations and consequences.
- Supervising/monitoring substances (alcohol, Rx, cigarettes) at home.
- Clear communication of family values, caring, honesty, responsibility, restraint, justice.
- Positive family communications/respectful conflict resolution style
- Parent involvement in schooling/encouragement of reading for pleasure
- Effective promotion of school engagement/achievement motivation
- Constructive use of time/creative, civic, social & sports youth activities
- Discussion around social planning & decision making, resistance skills/positive peer influence
- Promotion of Positive Identity: sense of purpose/personal power/self-esteem/future story
- Encouraging youth empowerment: service to others, demonstrate appreciation of youth strengths.
- Spiritual/religious direction/activities; help youth translate values into action.

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