drug prevention

How can Drug Prevention Programs Help Counter Substance Abuse in Young Adults?

Substance abuse is a growing menace that has enveloped our younger generation today!

Young adults tend to have a fearless attitude during their transitional years between teenage and adulthood. These formative years are part of a phase wherein they are highly susceptible to drug addiction. Children coping with extreme mental trauma due to circumstances that are beyond their control, such as parents’ divorce, shifting of residence or schools with varied educational patterns, often display signs of increased frustration levels.

Initially, adolescents exposed to this scenario begin to occasionally indulge in minor vices such as smoking and drinking as a sense of rebellion and blame it on the difficulties or depression associated with their inconsistent lifestyles.

Gradually, peer pressure and the need to escape from reality tempts these young adults to attend parties wherein harmful drugs are easily accessible, thereby turning them into full-blown addicts in a short period.

Medical research has proven that the human brain is in a continuous state of cognitive development until we reach our mid-twenties. Therefore, maintaining a healthy mental balance during that period must be considered as a priority by every individual. Regular use of drugs can hurt on the human brain and cause major health setbacks in the long run. In most cases, the general lack of awareness in young adults about adequate drug prevention programs increases their possibility of feeling trapped in a vortex of substance abuse.

Presently, there is an urgent need for us to focus on creating effective drug prevention programs such as Keepin It Realto help the younger generation overcome their addiction to harmful drugs.

How Can Drug Prevention Programs At ‘Keepin It Real’ Help Counter Substance Abuse In Young Adults?

Young adults of our generation play an integral part in building a firm foundation for our society. If you let substance abuse affect our youngsters, then the dream of a bright future for the entire nation comes to an absolute stand-still.

‘Keepin It Real’ is an innovative drug prevention program that is investing a lot of efforts in guiding young addicts recover from the pitfalls of substance abuse.

This landmark initiative believes in educating the addicts about the multiple risks that can affect their health due to early drug use. A few of these hazards associated with early drug use have been listed herewith:

  • Memory loss.
  • Lack of concentration.
  • Poor social skills.
  • Violent behavior.
  • Deterioration in physical health.
  • Erratic emotional outbursts.

All these above-mentioned disabilities are known to affect the academic performance of drug users. Many of these juvenile addicts join street gangs to support their drug habit and eventually face run-ins with the local law enforcement agencies due to violent crimes committed under the influence of drugs. These incidents can ruin the career prospects of the youngsters and leave them emotionally scarred for life.

At ‘Keepin It Real’, a lot of effort is invested by the program managers to understand the background of the young addicts. This is done to ascertain the root cause of the problems that have adversely impacted their mental health. Thereon, the adolescents go through intensive therapy sessions that are conducted through group meetings or on an individual basis at schools, churches, community halls or at their homes.

These programs are conducted in a phased manner by experienced mentors and are usually planned for specific age-groups or schools after evaluating the extent of substance abuse in that particular area or community.

In depth, studies are conducted regularly by scientists across the nation to determine the extent of brain damage occurring due to substance abuse. These observations enable the program coordinators at ‘Keepin It Real’ to provide valuable insights to young addicts on the ill-effects of long-term drug use.

Drug prevention programs need to be encouraged by one and all as research conducted by SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) in 2014 revealed statistics that alarmed the nation.

An estimated 1.7 million individuals between the ages of 18 to 25 were reported to be impacted by mental health disorders due to substance abuse in that year alone. Further research in 2016 indicated that this figure had risen considerably and these numbers are expected to grow manifold by 2020 if effective preventive measures are not initiated at the earliest.

What Are The Essential Factors That Improve The Efficacy Of A Drug Prevention Program?

The government has identified the following measures in drug prevention research that need to be implemented to improve the efficacy of these programs:

Young adults need to be encouraged to openly discuss their fears and insecurities.

  • Family bonds between adolescents and their parents need to be stronger.
  • Drug prevention agendas need to be publicized with utmost clarity through interactive community forums.
  • Spreading the anti-drugs stance through multiple modes of communication as well as social media platforms.
  • Emphasis on confidence-building measures in the younger generation through counseling at educational institutions.

Drug prevention programs such as ‘Keepin It Real’ are helping young adults to effectively counter substance abuse and re-discover the joys of living a healthy, drug-free life!

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life-skills training programs

4 Ways to Prepare Your Drug Prevention Efforts Before the New School Year Starts

Addiction to drugs and alcohol is one of the major problems affecting young people around the world. For many, the problem starts when they are quite young, as school students are often introduced to addictive substances by their friends and peers. By the time these children reach adulthood, they are already addicts and have been for quite a few years.

Individuals who start substance abuse during their teenage years are also far more at risk of becoming severely addicted to these substances in adulthood. Such an addiction can harm a person’s mental and physical health, relationships, and job performance. Substance abuse can also lead to self-harm, violence, and criminal behavior.

Drug Prevention In School

Mentioned above are some of the most important reasons why this problem needs to be addressed by the school authorities. Teachers and educators can no longer turn a blind eye to the problem of substance abuse among students. One of the best ways to address the issue is by introducing a school-based drug prevention program.

Before the new school year has begun, here are some things you can do to ensure that your drug prevention efforts will be a success. None of the steps mentioned below are easy, and they will require dedicated practice and much willpower. However, it is necessary for educators to adopt these practices if they intend to get their message across to those youngsters who are most at risk of substance abuse.

1. Practice Rigorous Authenticity

If you want students to follow the advice that you dispense, they first need to be able to trust you. Unconditional trust isn’t easy to gain, and it is even harder when one is dealing with teenagers hailing from turbulent families and troubled communities.

Hence, you must practice rigorous authenticity. This means that you have to be completely open and transparent with your students at all times. Rigorous authenticity requires the willingness to be vulnerable, to allow students to see your weaknesses as clearly as you can see theirs.

If you can manage to do that, you will have overcome the greatest hurdle to winning their trust and respect. Before the new school year starts, this is one approach you can practice in order to ensure the success of your drug prevention efforts.

2. Have Uncomfortable Conversations

Talking about alcoholism, addiction, and drug dependence is neither easy nor comfortable. Often, adults have a tendency to try and sanitize the subject matter being discussed, especially when they are talking to children or adolescents.

However, to run a successful drug prevention program, you must be willing to have uncomfortable conversations with your students. You must be willing to talk about the effects of addiction and the consequences of drug abuse, sometimes in vivid detail.

If the student comes from a family that has a history of alcoholism, then you must be willing to talk with them about the challenges of growing up with alcoholic parents and suggest healthy coping mechanisms on a case by case basis.

So, before the new school year starts, you must accept and embrace the idea of having real, honest, and uncomfortable conversations with your students on a regular basis.

3. Provide a Safe Haven

drug prevention programThis ties back to the point about trust-building. Students will not open up about their problems if they sense that the people running the program are judgmental or reactionary. Therefore, you must develop the habit of listening with an open mind, without any judgments or preconceived notions. The children and adolescents must feel safe when confiding in you.

They should be able to talk to you about peer pressure, family issues, and even about their experiences with drugs or alcohol, without having to fear being judged, mocked, or ostracized. Only then will you be able to learn about the individual challenges and struggles of each student, and help them accordingly. And by trying to create a safe haven for your students, you can ensure the success of your drug prevention efforts.

4. Understand Teen Culture:

One way to prepare for the success of your drug prevention efforts is by gaining an understanding of teen culture. Much of adolescent substance abuse is driven by peer pressure, and to be able to counter it effectively, educators must first understand where it comes from and what causes it.

To gain such insight, you must let go of the stereotypical image of teen culture fed to us by mainstream media and immerse yourself in the things that your students enjoy doing and the places where they spend the most time.

By doing so, you will gain valuable knowledge about what types of parties are likely to involve drug use, which hangout areas are frequented by addicts and drug peddlers, and what kind of movies or music glamorizes substance abuse, and which ones discourage it.

It will help you gain a first-hand understanding of which elements of teen culture should be encouraged and which ones need to be strategically phased out through familial and community intervention.

In Conclusion

So if you are trying to design or implement an effective school-based drug prevention program, these are some of the things that you should practice and pay attention to before the start of the new school year. Drug prevention is not an event, it is a process, and in order to be successful, it requires a great deal of patience, determination, and resilience. You can also buy drug prevention programs and materials developed by experienced and reputed agencies or institutions.

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