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Drug education and prevention programs help local communities

It seems as if every community, big or small, has been impacted by the problems associated with substance use and drug overdose. Within these communities, these problems extend into the family unit, with people becoming addicted and dying because of drugs.

However, community drug education and prevention programs can be a first line of defense. There is hope for the younger generations as they have more access to online prevention and education resources to help them make informed decisions. In addition, more information is available for parents to equip them with the tools to help their kids understand the dangers and risks associated with drugs and alcohol.

Unfortunately, drug education and prevention programs are not as widespread in Oregon as in other states. According to data from a statewide inquiry, 60% of Oregon’s school districts don’t use prevention curricula or programs at any grade level that meet even the lowest evidence bar, according to the nation’s top prevention and curricula clearinghouses. District responses showed that 20% of districts rely on little more than a chapter in a health textbook to get the job of addiction prevention done.

The Oregon Health Authority operates an alcohol-drug prevention education program. Yet, youth addiction prevention gets little help from the state.

Prevention and education information is valuable as it contributes to preventing underage alcohol abuse and recreational drug use. This can be especially vital during Fourth of July celebrations. Binge drinking, for example, around Independence Day is typical, and it is known as one of the heaviest drinking holidays of the year. In social settings, it becomes easy to consume too much alcohol.

According to drug abuse statistics, teenagers in Oregon are 37.62% more likely to have used drugs in the last month. Roughly 11% of the 12 to 17-year-olds surveyed reported using drugs in the last month, and 94% of those kids reported using marijuana in the last month.

Parents play an essential role when providing drug education. They can take the initiative to create an inclusive and supportive environment with their children. This can equip them with the tools they need to make knowledgeable decisions surrounding alcohol and drug use.

Teens and adults all use drugs and alcohol for different reasons. Much of their use is linked to peer pressure, whether from peers, in a social setting, or in the case of someone they look up to who they see drinking or using drugs.

Stress is also a common factor, and alcohol or drugs seem like an easy escape from the problems of life.

Additionally, environment and family history are contributing factors. Children, for example, who grow up in households with heavy drinking and recreational drug use are more likely to experiment with drugs.

Any parents wondering what to do should consider starting the conversation about alcohol and drug use early. It is also essential to be calm, loving, and supportive. Seek out specialized resources, such as those offered by county or non-profit organizations providing prevention and education.

Additionally, parents want to focus on making it safe for their children to tell them anything and never end the conversation, keeping it going regardless of age.

Local drug education resources are here to help assist people of all ages in making knowledgeable decisions about drugs and alcohol.

Jody Boulay is a mother of two with a passion for helping others. She currently works as a Community Outreach Coordinator for Drug Rehab Services (www.addicted.org) to help spread awareness of the dangers of drugs and alcohol.

 

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