Harrisburg, Pennsylvania – Today, the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) and the Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP) visited the Halifax Area Middle School and High School to highlight their drug use disorder prevention program. evidence-based substances (SUD) and remind schools of the resources available to provide support to students, educators and communities.
“Prevention is our first line of defense in ensuring our children grow up to lead healthy and productive lives,” said DDAP Secretary Jen Smith. “We need to tackle the trauma, mental health issues and negative childhood experiences brought on by the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Intensifying our primary prevention efforts and strengthening protective factors such as a positive school climate, decision-making and coping skills, and how to deal with trauma are absolutely essential in addressing these protective factors. risk that too often lead to misuse of substances.
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), primary prevention education is “provided before the onset of a disorder (mental health or substance abuse) to prevent or reduce the risk of developing a problem. behavioral health, such as underage alcohol use, prescription drug abuse and abuse, and illicit drug use.
“Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, people across the country have experienced increased frustration, anxiety, depression – all of which can lead to substance abuse – and these results are not limited to one age group, one gender, one race. , or a geographic area, ”Education Secretary Dr Noe Ortega said. “The Wolf Administration is committed to the health and well-being of our students and educators and offers a range of helpful resources that schools can use in their work to prevent substance use disorders. “
The secretaries met with members of the Halifax-area School District’s Communities that Care Club (CTC), which provides direct access to SUD prevention activities, including in-person classroom instruction. Halifax CTC was established by a group of school administrators and community members in July 2001 and is designed to guide communities through a well-defined and structured process to prevent problematic adolescent behaviors and promote positive youth development. .
A key part of the Halifax CTC are the youth-led clubs that are offered in grades 4 to 12 and currently have over 80 members. Halifax CTC is funded by the Dauphin County Department of Drug and Alcohol Services and offers several school programs including:
- Botvin Life skills training: An evidence-based SUD program with over 20 years of rigorous research that is designed for upper elementary school students. Botvin Life skills training is based on scientific evidence of the causes of substance abuse, uses a holistic approach, emphasizes proven skills training methods, and has been shown to reduce the consumption of tobacco, alcohol and drugs. other drugs.
- Too good for drugs and violence: An evidence-based curriculum where lessons include activities aimed at strengthening knowledge, attitudes, beliefs and skills effective for the prevention of drug use and violence.
Research has shown that certain prevention programs have been shown to reduce a student’s likelihood of future substance use and improve mental health and academic performance. Prevention programs do this by increasing protective factors, which are environmental, biological, or relationship factors that help children cope effectively with stressful and risky events.
The Alcohol and Other Drugs Resource Guide provides information that can help schools identify their needs, select prevention programs, and implement prevention programs. This guide describes programs, curricula, and supplemental programs related to alcohol and other drugs (DOA). Best practices for choosing AOD programs involve the use of evidence-based, effective, and promising programs that are developmentally appropriate.
County drug and alcohol offices can provide prevention programs and materials that address many substance-related topics, and also help select prevention programs that are best suited for schools, parents / families and others. to communities.
School district data from the PA Youth Survey (COUNTRY) is an important resource for identifying student needs and factors influencing student substance use. This information can be used to guide the choice of prevention programs. The COUNTRY practical guide is a tool to help with the analysis of COUNTRY data. Local county alcohol and drug offices and coalitions may also be able to help analyze COUNTRY data.
Just Five is a free online tool to improve education and awareness about substance use disorders (SUD). With only six short learning modules, this is a self-paced program that aims to increase awareness, reduce stigma and provide education on the prevention and treatment of SUD that inspires conversations. with family, friends and communities.
The Get Help Now helpline is a free helpline that connects callers with treatment options and resources for themselves or a loved one. You can reach the Get Help Now helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357). The helpline is available 24/7, including holidays. An anonymous chat service offering the same information to people who might not be comfortable talking on the phone is also available.
To learn more about the Wolf Administration’s efforts in addressing substance use disorders, visit ddap.pa.gov. Prevention resources for schools, families, communities and the workforce are available at ddap.pa.gov/prevention.
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