strategy

Educating children to prevent drug taking

Synonyms:
Teaching to lessen juvenile substance abuse
Preventive education for drugs
Counselling young drug abusers
Description:
Imparting drug-related information and skills in a developmentally and ethnically appropriate manner, through a child-centred approach which creates a forum for children to discuss their issues and concerns. The most effective prevention programmes cover a wide range of issues and skills. These include decision-making as well as the body and health; problem solving and stress reduction; communication skills; friendship; peer pressure and how to resist it; alternatives to drug use; identity and self-esteem; and drug information (including illegal and legal substances).
Implementation:
Primary prevention starts with children at an early age, typically 4 to 5 years, seeking to prevent drug use before experimentation starts. The focus is usually not on drugs themselves, but care and respect for the body. The secondary prevention approach works with older children who may be experimenting with drugs or, at least, are at risk. Here the aim is to stop the progression of experimentation or drug use.

In the USA, a campaign called D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) is led by trained police officers who urge kids to 'just say no' to drugs. It has shown success among elementary school students but the approach has been less effective at discouraging older, at-risk students from using alcohol, tobacco, or illegal drugs. A modified strategy is to engage parents. It is argued that by establishing rules and expectations early on, by instilling values, parents can prepare children to face difficult decisions before drugs ever enter the picture. The child will want to be good and to do things that his parents approve of, but expectations must be firmly established before children start spending considerable time away from home or relationships will explode. A child whose whereabouts and friends have been monitored by his/her parents during their pre-teenage years, will be likely to still accept this during adolescence.

Claim:
1. Beyond the prevention and harm reduction approaches, there is need for a radical transformation of the whole educational ethos. If the social malaise and lack of vision at the heart of our civilization is to be addressed, young people need an education which will awaken their wonders of the human being, of the natural world and the cosmos. They need to learn about the body and the effects upon it of drugs and chemical substances. An education is called for that leads students to feel personally involved in responding to the dangers and challenges facing the human family in an interdependent age.

2. To keep children off drugs, he says, parents must surround them with a "protective shield" of reciprocal love, caring, security, respect, and responsibility.

Subjects:
Infants
Youth
Prevention
Addiction, drug abuse
Pharmacy
Education
Educators
Type Classification:
D: Detailed strategies