In 2011, the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) conducted long term research on drug abuse behaviors and the common elements of effective preventive programs. The research was conducted to assist in providing practical data when developing preventive programs. These programs are designed to target particular groups or settings, such as home, school or community. There is also an emphasis on populations at greater risks to include current abusers and non abusers. With these points at the forefront, NIDA came up with several principles that should be focused on to have successful outcomes in substance abuse prevention programs. I will highlight a few that will assist with explaining the difference between effective and non effective programs. The first principle is that Prevention programs should enhance protective factors and reverse or reduce risk factors. The probability of someone being at the risk of being a substance abuser is dependent upon the number and type of risks they are exposed to. These risks can affect their behavior at every age level. It is important to provide early intervention measures that focus on the social behaviors that can lead to substance abuse. A good portion of drug abusers are correlated with defiant attitudes and behaviors.
Another principle requires programs to address all forms of drug abuse. This would include but not limited to prescription, over-the-counter, licit and illicit drugs to include alcohol. Some drugs are more prevalent in certain communities than others, which bring us to our third and fourth principle which refers to addressing target areas and drugs focusing on the population audience based on age, gender and race. There should also be a focus on family and school based programs. The success rate is far greater when used in combination. When you focus on both, you maximize the potential for success. Although intervention can start as early infancy, school based programs begin around 5th or 6th grade throughout the highschool years.
As mentioned, there are thousands of prevention programs throughout the nation but not all are successful or effective. Next I will review a few programs that have been classified as effective or non-effective according to the Office of Justice Programs. The first program focusing adolescents in review is called “Taking Charge of Your Life (TCYL). This program involved 10 lessons in 7th grade and 7 booster lessons in 9th grade. This program was executed through the