Drug, Alcohol and Tobacco Abuse Prevention and Awareness

January 1999 – Revised February 2014 – Health Commission

PTA believes that prevention efforts must involve the home, the school, and the community seeking effective ways to address the use and abuse of drugs, alcohol, tobacco and other nicotine-containing products, such as e-cigarettes and other products as yet to be created. The issues should be faced through improving family communication skills, knowledge of primary prevention education programs in the school, and developing community programs.

PTA believes every child has the right to develop to his fullest potential and is firmly committed to helping ensure that development through proactive methods. To fulfill this commitment, PTA initiates and supports drug, alcohol, tobacco and other nicotine-containing products, such as e-cigarettes and other products as yet to be created legislation aimed at education, abuse prevention and control.

These guidelines have been developed to facilitate parent involvement to assist PTAs in addressing the problems of drug, alcohol, tobacco and other nicotine-containing products, such as e-cigarettes and other products as yet to be created abuse, and to identify resources for information and further assistance.

Education

The parent, school, and community can heighten awareness by learning:

  • What is happening regarding new drug look-alikes;
  • What changes have been made in laws concerning use and misuse of controlled substances, such as stiffer penalties for use and possession of drugs, alcohol, tobacco and other nicotine-containing products, such as e-cigarettes and other products as yet to be created on or near school property;
  • What teacher/staff training is effective in education and primary prevention methods;
  • What is the school policy regarding
    • Students who use alcohol or take drugs at school
    • Sale of alcohol or drugs on or near school property
    • Teachers/staff with alcohol or drug problems
    • Teachers/staff involved in sale of alcohol or drugs
    • Drug, alcohol, and tobacco education curriculum (K-12)
    • Teacher/staff training programs for teaching about abuse
    • Other school drug, alcohol, tobacco and other nicotine-containing products, such as e-cigarettes and other products as yet to be created prevention programs;
  • What is the mass media influence;
  • What is the relationship between school personnel and law enforcement;
  • What is the proliferation of mini-marts selling alcohol, tobacco and other nicotine-containing products, such as e-cigarettes and other products as yet to be created;
  • What are early intervention resources;
  • How to use law enforcement as a positive support system for the community.

To set and attain their goals PTAs should:

  • Be aware of school and neighborhood drug and alcohol environments;
  • Observe and talk with parents, children and youth;
  • Meet with teachers, counselors, principals, and members of the community;
  • Seek data from local law enforcement agencies, as well as the California Alcohol Beverage Control.

PTAs should understand school district policy and work with administrators to:

  • Learn about the school primary prevention education plan;
  • Encourage establishment of a school primary prevention plan, if one does not exist;
  • Examine curriculum of county and local school district offices;
  • Obtain information from school district superintendent or school board to request drug, alcohol,  tobacco and other nicotine-containing products, such as e-cigarettes and other products as yet to be created abuse prevention education and its implementation;
  • Support limiting the proliferation and availability of alcohol vendors accessible to youth;
  • Examine city zoning policies on vendor locations and proximity to schools.

PTAs can learn about parent education resources through:

  • The county coordinator of drug, alcohol, tobacco and other nicotine-containing products, such as e-cigarettes and other products as yet to be created abuse prevention education abuse;
  • Well-established drug, alcohol, tobacco and other nicotine-containing products, such as e-cigarettes and other products as yet to be created abuse prevention education abuse agencies, many of which have a variety of parent communications and abuse information groups;
  • Allied agencies providing drug, alcohol, tobacco and other nicotine-containing products, such as e-cigarettes and other products as yet to be created abuse prevention education abuse awareness classes;
  • District PTA and California State PTA resource people trained in parent education and communication skills.

Prevention

There is no single primary prevention program to fit all needs. Numerous approaches and activities have been developed. A combination of methods may be suitable for your community. Methods used must be appropriate for their respective target groups: elementary students, secondary students, parents, families, community, and school administrators. Successful programs include the following components:

  • Provide accurate information;
  • Stress self-esteem, communication skills, decision making, understanding of personal values;
  • Utilize peer counseling and peer tutoring, including older students working with younger students;
  • Provide alternatives to the use of drugs, alcohol, tobacco and other nicotine-containing products, such as e-cigarettes and other products as yet to be created abuse prevention education that are attuned to community involvement as well as school environment;
  • Offer work experience programs, career education, family and parent involvement;
  • Offer family programs stressing communication skills, problem solving, counseling and support groups;
  • Encourage support of law enforcement agencies collaborating with merchants and businesses to solve and alleviate problems;
  • Seek cooperation of merchants, including agreement to a Merchant’s Pledge not to sell alcohol and tobacco to youth or to adults who buy for youth;
  • Provide certificates of commendation to community members and agencies that give exemplary service in the area of awareness and prevention;
  • Offer school climate assessment programs designed to change negative school environment and attitudes as well as curriculum;
  • Form networks within individual PTAs and within council and district PTAs for communication and to work toward a common goal.

Evaluate the primary program by asking the following questions:

  • Is it appropriate for the target group?
  • Are teachers or facilitators trained in the primary prevention programs?
  • Have students been involved in planning and participating in programs?
  • Do the programs develop strategies specified in the description of types of primary prevention programs?
  • Is the program accountable to some established agency, such as the school district, a governmental agency or a community agency?
  • Have provisions been made for: continuing the program, evaluation, follow-up?

Criteria for Evaluating Drug and Alcohol Education Material

In evaluating drug and alcohol education material, check the following:

  • Background and reputation of those who prepared the material;
  • Physical appearance of the material;
  • Timeliness of material: is it current and up-to-date;
  • Readability: vocabulary, type size, organization, etc.;
  • Point of view expressed;
  • Unique information and quality of material;
  • Ability to interest reader;
  • No “put on” or “put down” of the reader;
  • Relation of material to objectives;
  • Objective and non-judgmental in tone;
  • Sufficient amount of information;
  • Bibliography and cross reference index.
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