It is important to keep our society safe and secure, and to do so the use of illegal drugs must be kept under control. When drugs are readily available to those who may be naïve and ignorant to the dangers these substances carry, there must be methods of keeping this under control. Drug prevention programs for children are a significant technique to assist those who may be likely to have these problems. A variety of prevention programs are used, and to ensure the best outcome, it is essential to determine what programs are the most efficient for which people. Also, there are programs in which changes are necessary for the program in general, not simply for those attending.
It is vital that the prevention program used by the school is fitted for the students it is meant to help. This is because the use of drugs changes with the geography, gender, age, and race of the students; these variables also change over time (Sample & Fuller, 2013). Children in different areas will be faced with varying environments, meaning that they will need varying information and instruction on how to deal with particular situations. For example, handling circumstances involving drugs in cities can be extremely different than those in rural areas. Also, students living in places with higher levels of poverty will not have the same experiences that children in other areas will.
In 1983, the DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) program was introduced and because this was a funded program, it was accepted by many schools (Sample & Fuller, 2013). It was determined that the effects of DARE were very brief, and one of the reasons for this is because there was not much change in the program from the time it was started (Sample & Fuller, 2013). This demonstrates that although a program may seem as if it should effective if it has a lot of information and many people are involved, this must be monitored. There should be constant research and exploration performed to keep the material and procedures up-to-date. If this is not done, time may be wasted teaching children facts and speaking to them about things that are no longer an issue. Also, talking to kids in different areas about issues while performing sessions can be more effective if particular examples are used that they can easily relate to, and can fully understand what is being taught to them.
Family-based drug prevention programs are somewhat different from school-based, in that their focus is on strategies for parent-child interaction, communication skills, family management skills, and child management practices (Etz, Robertson, & Ashery, 1998). Children learn many things from their parents, which makes it important that parents are knowledgeable about this topic. Parents can also receive information from programs regarding how to set rules that are appropriate. All parents need to make sure that they have a loving relationship with their children for many reasons, and this is especially useful for keeping them away from drugs. Children who have close relationships with their parents can be more willing to obey the rules set for them, such as not to use drugs or alcohol.
As previously mentioned, programs are more likely to be successful if they are structured according to the demographics of the members in the group. This is also true with family programs. For example, the Strengthening Hawaiian Families (SHF) program was altered to make it more efficient for Hawaiian-Asian and Pacific Islander cultures (Kumpfur, 1998).
The Institute of Medicine has classified three schemes of family support, which are the “universal,” used for the general population, “selective,” for targeted families, and “indicated,” for subjects who have identified risks (Kumpfur, 1998). Improving the family environment and reducing family conflict can be the outcome of these types of programs, resulting in a decrease in the probability of drug abuse. It has also been suggested that family-based programs are extremely important with children who are at a higher risk to try drugs. The reasoning for this is that when child-only approaches are used, this can actually have negative impacts on family functioning; family-focused interventions will be more likely to positive impacts for these children (Kumpfur, 1998).
Having well-rounded types of sources available that are both school and family-based can lead to the most successful outcomes for the children in our society. If possible, they should be able to participate in everything that their parents and teachers feel necessary to keep them away from drugs. Finding out which types of programs work best with what children is a great way to make sure they will be provided with the help and support they need to make smart decisions about not abusing drugs. Although they do not necessarily need to enjoy these programs, it can be useful if they are able to feel comfortable enough to speak about the topic to their instructors and their parents. By doing so, this can help children live more healthy and happy lives. To make sure this happens, the people behind these programs and organizations must be careful to make sure that everything is set up appropriately.
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