Kenneth B. Hilliard
Drug use may be attributed to problem behavior. Prevention programs that are effective use social influence and skills as their teaching base. These programs help adolescents identify and resist peer and social pressures by informing them of the consequences, identifying peer, media, and environmental influences, modeling, role playing, and goal setting.
Programs that teach personal skills such as problem solving and decision making, coping strategies for reducing stress, and improved communication skills are most effective. In order to be most effective programs should include both a social and personal unit for coping with adolescent problems. It is also important that the programs extend outside the school to encompass the entire community. Prevention efforts should include teachers, parents, community leaders, and law enforcement agencies in order to be most effective.
If drug use behavior is learned before or during adolescence, there is a good chance that drugs will not be used. Prevention programs should focus on reducing exposure and changing attitudes already in place. Any disruption in the normal family could have an effect on drug use during adolescence. The earlier the intervention (elementary school) the better.
Programs should foster self esteem, interpersonal relationships, and promote a commitment to good achievement.
Although many studies have been done there could be some short comings including the absence of a control group, and the use of predominately white middle class students, and poor long term follow up.
A need for the best program, at the earliest age, with family support, is needed.