The best type of drug and alcohol education for schools

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The best type of drug and alcohol education for schools

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Currently, we are in a crisis as far as school-based prevention. Funding is down three quarters. Most program, it's part of the financial difficulties of the last several years, have cut back on their prevention programs. Even when they are doing it, 80 percent of curriculum don't actually work very well. Some of them are even associated with increased use. The good side of that is there are 20 percent of those programs that do work. When you are looking at your own school curriculum, if you are on a PTA or working with the schools, those that focus only on knowledge and attitude, generally don't work. Those that try to scare them straight or show other people using drugs and alcohol, tend to backfire. The ones that work are the ones that teach refusal skills, social skills, communications. They teach them about substance free activities. They talk about recovery schools or dry dances, or other kids of activities you'll see around the First Night program; where they will have a party on New Years Eve, but it's a dry party. They will make an event out of it and the community comes behind them. All of those tend to work more than one simply focused on knowledge and attitude. If you are interested in finding out what kind of preventions work, there is a variety of websites, including www.drugstrategies.com, that has a guide to parents for picking the best prevention programs.

See Michael Dennis, PhD's video on The best type of drug and alcohol education for schools...

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Michael Dennis, PhD

Psychologist

Michael Dennis, PhD, is a senior research psychologist and Director of the Global Appraisal of Individual Needs (GAIN) coordinating center at Chestnut Health Systems in Normal, Illinois. Over the past 25 years his primary area of research has been to better understand and manage addiction and recovery over the life course. This includes multiple clinical trials to compare the effectiveness of adolescent treatment approaches and recovery support services, longitudinal studies with adolescents, adults and older adults to understand the predictors of entering and sustaining recovery, and creating the Global Appraisal of Individual Needs (GAIN) coordinating center for teaching evidenced based assessment to support clinical decision making at the individual level and program evaluation. He has multiple awards for moving the field from science to practice, promoting diversity through practice based evidence and bringing more people into the field.

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