The National Institute on Drug Abuse states that key factors to preventing drug use involve family, school, and community based programs that will enhance protective factors and reverse or reduce risk factors.
Addressing risk factors (e.g., aggressive behavior and poor self-control) often has a greater impact than later intervention by changing a child’s life path (trajectory) away from problems and toward positive behaviors.
The goal is finding a family- based program that will enhance family bonding and relationships and include parenting skills; develop, discuss, and enforce family policies on substance abuse; and training in drug education and information.
Family bonding is the bedrock of the relationship between parents and children. Bonding can be strengthened through skills training on parent supportiveness of children, parent-child communication, and parental involvement.
· Parental monitoring and supervision are critical for drug abuse prevention. These skills can be enhanced with training on rule-setting; techniques for monitoring activities; praise for appropriate behavior; and moderate, consistent discipline that enforces defined family rules.
School-based prevention programs for elementary school children should target improving academic and social-emotional learning to address risk factors for drug abuse, such as early aggression, academic failure, and school dropout. Education should focus on the following skills:
· emotional awareness;
· social problem-solving; and
· academic support, especially in reading.
Teachers and parents nationwide seek effective ways to instill positive health skills in children and to prevent drug use. The challenge is to find a creative and effective curriculum so teachers and parents can reinforce life skills lessons throughout the school year.
With these needs in mind, the Million Dollar Machine program was developed in consultation with educators, psychologists and drug use prevention experts. Its effectiveness at inspiring children to adopt healthy behaviors and avoid drug use earned it a Presidential Award at the White House.
For more information visit http://www.nida.nih.gov/Prevention/principles.html and http://www.lifeskills4kids.com/acorn.php?page=lessons