Drug Abuse and Prevention
Our society’s idea of prevention is to limit the availability of drugs (Hart & Ksir, 2011, p. 400), but this is not essentially the best way. Addiction affects everyone. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), substance abuse cost our nation “more than $484 billion dollars (The National Institute on Drug Abuse ). ” So although you might not be directly impacted by drug abuse, as a whole your tax dollars are spent on fighting the war on drugs. Currently there are several different types of substance prevention; however are they really our best option?
First is primary prevention, which is aimed at mostly young children who have never tried a substance or those who may have tried tobacco or alcohol (Hart & Ksir, 2011, p. 401). Benefits from this type of early intervention include encouraging abstinence, and teaching people the effects of potential drug use on their lives, emotions, and social relationships (Hart & Ksir, 2011, p. 401). There are programs that go to schools, and speak to children as young as 8 about drugs and the effects of drug use.
Secondary prevention is for those who have tried the drug in question or other types of drugs. This is supposed to prevent the use of more dangerous drugs, and also to prevent the use of the substances in a more dangerous way (Hart & Ksir, 2011, p. 401). This prevention is aimed more towards college students, who have tried drugs but have not suffered seriously from their drug use. This is not aimed at people who need obvious treatment (Hart & Ksir, 2011, p. 402). Let us look back on primary prevention. Most students have experienced a program called D.
A. R. E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education). Studies have shown that here is no proof that D. A. R. E. reduced the use of alcohol or drugs; it was found that it is actually 3 counterproductive (Hanson, 2007). The U. S. Department of Education prohibits schools from spending funding on the D. A. R. E. program, because they believe “it’s completely ineffective in reducing alcohol and drug use (Hanson, 2007). What D. A. R. E. oes is exposes young elementary school children to drugs they might not have know about before. There should be a better approach to primary prevention. Changing the age group to sixth graders is a start because they are the ones who are most likely to be exposed to drugs and alcohol. The programs should continuously follow up and collect data on the students to find out what approach is most effective. Every person is different, and if we combine selective and primary prevention we can cater programs to specific types of children.
Secondary prevention is designed for people who have tried the drug in question or a variety of other substances (Hart & Ksir, 2011, p. 401). The ultimate goal of these programs is to prevent the person who is using a certain drug from opening up to other, more dangerous drugs. The purpose is to stop them from endangering themselves more than they already have. The clientele in this case are usually people who are more experienced and have not had an extreme reaction to the drugs that they have used.
Therefore, they are not “in too deep. ” Many of the people that fall into this category are college students and programs aimed at encouraging responsible use of alcohol among college students are good examples of this stage of prevention (Hart & Ksir, 2011, p. 402). In order to attempt to prevent the transition from use to abuse in college students, they should think about starting these prevention programs at an earlier age. Nowadays, kids get started very early and by high school they are already exposed to alcohol and drug use.
It would be wise to open their eyes to what they are going to encounter in their college years and give them the proper advice so that they are prepared when they get to college. College students have a lot of free time on their hands and it is very easy to make a habit out of recreational drug use. I feel that if students knew what to expect, they won’t be as naive and vulnerable as they would be if they hadn’t been properly advised. Students at that age get involved in different things because they are making new friends and adjusting to a new lifestyle.
I think it would be a good idea for campuses to have clubs or programs run by students for students who are struggling with drug abuse, that way students know that they have someone to talk to who will help them if they need it. A prevention program that takes place at later stages of drug abuse is Tertiary prevention. Tertiary preventing is relapse prevention, or follow-up programs (Hart & Ksir, 2011, p. 402). This prevention refers to actions that can be taken to prevent a relapse from occurring and to help the person maintain a healthy status after therapy has lready been administered. For alcohol- or heroin-dependent individuals, treatment programs are the first order of priority (Hart & Ksir, 2011, p. 402). If a person has already been treated or are able to stop using without the help of anyone else, they enter another stage of prevention. This could be improved by having people who have already been through the program follow up with the clientele who are currently going through the same experience that they did. It is much easier for people to talk to someone who has been in the same position as them.
Having people who they can relate to and continue to guide them through their journey to stay sober is very encouraging. The universal drug prevention program is another kind of intervention which targets the whole community; its intention is to reach a large audience. This program focuses on the entire 5 group rather than the individual. These programs are implemented within the community, classrooms, and focus on prevention and life skills (Little, 2010).
A kind of Universal prevention program is the Caring Community Program which consists of a family- plus approach to reduce the risk of drug use by children (Little, 2010). These kinds of programs are quite beneficial in that they target the young. By the end of elementary a child has already been exposed to some form of drugs. By providing the sense of community it reduces drug abuse, street violence and psychological problems among children (Little, 2010). These types of programs promote motivation in school and academic achievement.
Another great benefit is that Potential benefits are expected to outweigh costs for everyone (Schaps, 2003). The downside to a program like this would be that because it’s made to focus on the group as a whole, individuals that are at a higher risk and constantly surrounded by drugs are getting the same attention as those that may have never seen drugs, These individuals may need more intervention to be able to stay away from drugs since access to them is abundant. A great way to better this program would be to intensify it in communities that drugs run ramped and easily accessed.
While still keeping the prevention program universal and targeting the whole community, it would be more impactful if altered in high risk communities to strengthen the program and make it more intensive. The Selective prevention program on the other hand targets subgroups of the general population that are determined to be at risk for substance abuse. Those who participate in this kind or program are recruited because they are known to have specific risk to substance abuse.
The groups targeted by these programs are both adults and children. Age, gender, family history, place of residence and victimization, or physical and/or sexual abuse may define the targeted 6 subgroups (Doyle, 2006). A benefit of this program would be that the selective prevention program is presented to the entire subgroup because the subgroup as a whole is at higher risk for substance abuse than the general population.
It targets those people that are being exposed to drugs more frequently or that are prone to abusing drugs rather than targeting all communities. Not all communities have the same drug exposure and accessibility to drugs. So it’s important to target specific communities. The weakness of this program is that the individual’s personal risk is not exclusively assessed or recognized and is based solely on a presumption given in his or her membership in the at-risk subgroup (Doyle, 2006).
There may be individuals in the subgroup that are at no risk for drug abuse whereas there may be someone in the group that is already using. If this is not known the one that is already using may not benefit at all from this program. Great ways to strengthen the selective prevention program is to go deeper, not only select at risk subgroups but asses individuals within the group to increase intervention with certain individuals that may be already using.