Substance abuse, both legal and illegal, is a rising concern in American society. Stopping this problem is about lifting awareness of the harms of drugs through education. In children, drug use and abuse continues to rise to children as young as 12 years old. Schools across the nation have adapted drug abuse and awareness principles and made them a staple of public middle and high schools. Stopping the drug use in children is a complete job, though. It requires schools, communities, and parents to be aware and committed under the same principle – putting a halt to drug use.
Drug Abuse Prevention
There are three main components in drug abuse prevention:
- Reduction Strategies – strategies that aim to reduce the desire and willingness to obtain and use drugs. These strategies include abstinence programs.
- Supply Reduction – strategies that aim to disrupt the availability and production of drugs. These strategies include measures taken to limit use and sale of illegal (and prescribed) substances.
- Mitigate social consequences and negative health of drug use – strategies that aim to reduce the impact of drug use and activities in an individual or community.
For drug prevention to be effective, it requires the collaboration from schools, parents or caregivers, and the community as a whole.
As children spend the majority of their days in school, several factors come into play when dealing with drug abuse. Teachers need to be caring and supportive of their students. Children need to learn and be given opportunities to provide a valuable contribution to the uplifting of school life. There needs to be a feeling of security in a school environment. Not necessarily meaning an armed guard at all exits, but an overall feeling that the safety of the children is a priority, whether that faculty hall monitors or cameras watching dark corners. The children also need to be given the opportunity to develop close and positive relationships with their peers. Above all, there needs to be communication between the students and the school to address school values and how they (the school) plan on bringing out these values in the everyday lives of children. Communication also allows the school to provide their expectation of the students and gives them the opportunity to take responsibility for providing a positive school experience.
As primary educators, parents have one of the most important jobs. It is their place to prepare their children to deal with problems in the world that they might face. Parents need to be aware of youth culture. Setting family rules and being a positive, responsible influence in terms of substance abuse are some of the most important things in preventing children from turning to drugs. Parents can also become involved in the children’s life in regards to school activities and functions, and advocate for various changes in school policies to provide a safe and secure environment for children.
Communities play an important role as well, as community completes the environment a child is exposed to. Schools can provide local and national health news in the community, as well as having community officials review school policies and procedures. Culture and diversity issues need to be brought forth and handled. If a community can develop an open communication and understanding, it will provide the safe and secure environment that children need to stay away from abusing substances.
Seeking Help to Find a Drug Free Message
Parents involved in the lives of their children will be able to observe changes in behaviors. If you are a parent who believes there is an issue in the community, or that the school is not taking adequate measures to ensure the safety of their children, talk to the school about it. Involve yourselves with your children. If you have a child who might have a substance abuse issue, seek professional help. Contact us today to get more information or see our drug free message here: