Creating a Culture of Prevention

Initiatives designed to prevent substance use often directly focus on discussion of the substances themselves. These conversations are a crucial element in helping teens understand the risks of substance use and how to avoid it. However, families and schools can also contribute to this effort by creating a culture that supports prevention.

The Prevention Action Alliance developed a list of 40 Developmental Assets (based on research by the Search Institute) that facilitate healthy, happy teens who have the resilience to resist substance use. These assets are divided into two categories— external and internal. The external assets include support (from family, friends, school, and community), empowerment, boundaries and expectations, and constructive use of time. The second category, internal assets, includes commitment to learning, positive values, social competencies, and positive identity.

Parents and schools have a great deal of ability to shape external assets by providing role models, clear expectations for behavior, and positive outlets for student exploration. Adults can encourage internal assets as well by showing their teens respect and acceptance, and by modeling integrity, responsibility, and peaceful conflict resolution.

Substance use prevention is a complex process that encompasses every aspect of a teen’s life. We can all do our part to create a culture that helps teens learn about substances and feel empowered to make healthy choices.

Drug Free Clubs of America is on a mission to reduce the impacts of drug use in youth. Across the nation, drug and alcohol use is on the rise among teens. We provide students with practical tools and techniques to navigate peer pressure and choose a healthy lifestyle. Partnering with schools and communities, we offer preventative programming to meet students where they are. Through randomized drug testing, educational resources, a positive outlet, and a supportive community, we are changing school cultures and reducing alcohol, marijuana, vaping, and other detrimental activities among our members and the entire school body. Drug Free Clubs of America has over 5,000 student and faculty/staff members and Clubs in over 50 schools in Ohio, Kentucky, and West Virginia.

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