Alberta Health Services (AHS) and the Alberta Alcohol and Drug Abuse Commission (AADAC), together with the RCMP, recently announced the launch of a new prevention program called Kids and Drugs — A Parent’s Guide to Prevention. The program is intended to assist parents and other concerned adults in helping school age children avoid alcohol and drug abuse. Kathie Gavin, prevention co-ordinator for AADAC, says the new program goes beyond the basic drug education provided to parents in the past, addressing important protective factors for youth including effective parenting practices.
“In the past, when parents asked about drug information sessions we would give them the good, bad and ugly … The new program broadens the scope of parents’ understanding. It’s about giving your kids confidence, having open communication and giving them support,” says Gavin.
Content of the program is built on known factors that prevent substance abuse, says Gavin, like improved communication, support, decision-making and discipline.
The programs four core areas examine the importance of parental role modeling, enhancing communication skills, decision making, and the final area, “What parents need to know about drugs.” This final workshop provides information on commonly used drugs and their risks, as well as reasons why kids use drugs and the signs and symptoms of a developing problem.
Gavin says different substances are used according to different trends, but a constant remains in that tobacco, alcohol and marijuana are the most likely drugs of choice.
“Other illicit drugs are small in number with regard to use by young people. The really common ones are right in front of us, ingrained in our culture. We need to talk about prevention with consideration of all the substances we use in our culture, and develop some respectful attitudes about that.”
Gavin says prevention is a long-term investment, and it’s an important one that involves consideration of cultural values, attitudes and norms. The focus of the new program is on prevention, not on intervention or treatment, says Gavin, so the program’s workshops are designed for families where there is no significant problem already.
Gavin says input into the new program was gathered from addictions, enforcement and educational specialists then piloted at six sites across Canada. Through formative evaluation, Gavin explains that certain aspects of the program were then revised. For example, because one of the objectives was to give communities flexibility in when and how they offer the program, suggestions like offering it at work sites or through school councils was incorporated into the program’s design.
The Kids and Drugs prevention program was developed over a three year period by AADAC and the RCMP, says Gavin, and replaces an earlier RCMP program called Two Way Street.
For more information about the program, including a free download of the parent’s booklet, go to http://www.aadac.com/565_502.asp. The AADAC website also contains a parent information series, addressing prevention, intervention and treatment of substance abuse in youth (http://www.aadac.com/). AADAC can also be reached toll free;
Source: Prairie Post West. Canada. Jan. 22nd 2009