The Importance Of Substance Abuse Programs In Schools

Despite the fact that substance abuse is a serious threat to our youth nowadays, more and more teenagers start to consume dangerous substances, unaware of their implications in the long run. In this article I will present you the importance of substance abuse prevention in schools today, as well as their main benefits.

Drug Prevention Programs In High Schools

A sign that says Drug-Free School Zone
Substance Abuse programs for a drug free school system do work!
It is better to prevent than to treat, and that is a fact. Fortunately, over the past decade, more and more schools across the territory of the USA started programs that aim to prevent substance abuse. It is the responsibility of school administrators to determine the percentage of teenagers that consume illegal substances and to take the necessary measures to stop them from doing so and prevent others from starting to use illegal substances. The best way to do so is by using anonymous surveys.
It is essential to raise awareness among teenagers with regards to the dangerous effects of drugs, as well as to inform them about all the legal aspects. Very few teenagers are actually aware of the risks associated with the use of illegal substances, and this is one of the main factors that contribute to the increasing number of teenagers that consume dangerous substances.
Nonetheless, it must be mentioned that the term “substance abuse” does not only refer to drugs and illegal substances, but to alcohol and tobacco as well. Even though the latter is less dangerous, students must be warned about the dangerous health risks they expose themselves at each time they consume such substances.
Regarding drug prevention programs in high schools, school administrators usually focus on education. Education is undoubtedly the most efficient “weapon” when it comes to preventing substance abuse. Teachers inform their students about how can drugs and alcohol interfere with their day-to-day activities and the tremendous impact they have on one’s health. Fortunately, there are various prevention principles that apply in junior high school which turn out to be highly effective.
Besides the fact that school administrators try to raise awareness among teenagers, they also inform both teachers and students about the consequences of drug abuse. Every high school has its own policy, but all high schools are obliged to notify the police if any illegal substances are discovered. The first substance abuse programs were initiated more than half a century ago, and they have been significantly improved throughout time.
Some of the most important and efficient substance abuse programs in high schools are “Just Say No!”, “Keepin’ it REAL” (which is among the top 3 most efficient programs) or D.A.R.E. (The Drug Abuse Resistance Education). Putting it in a nutshell, these programs teach students how to recognize the risks of substance abuse, how to refuse substance-related offers and how to build strong decision-making skills.
A young woman receiving drug counseling
Substance abuse counseling helps people overcome addictions.
ith regards to the substance abuse programs in schools today, the most known programs include Narconon International (with more than 40 years of experience in the prevention of substance abuse) or SADD (acronym for Students Against Destructive Decisions). These programs not only focus on preventing substance abuse, but also on raising awareness regarding the dangers of drinking and driving. They promote responsible, healthy lifestyles.
The purpose of these substance abuse programs in high school is to help students make good decisions and avoid self-destruction, since substance abuse is extremely harmful in the long run. The programs also aim to prevent violence by providing positive role models. These prevention programs turned out to be highly effective, since the number of students that abuse substances has significantly decrease. Nonetheless, the results vary from one high school to another, due to the fact that every high school has its own substance abuse policy.
D.A.R.E., One Of The Main Substance Abuse Prevention Programs
At the moment, D.A.R.E. is undoubtedly one of the most known programs in the United States of America. As a matter of fact, recent studies have revealed the fact that D.A.R.E. is implemented in approximately three out of four high schools. The D.A.R.E. program was founded almost 30 years ago, back in 1983, and since then it has been teaching children how to fight substance abuse. “Keepin’ it REAL”, or simply “KiR”, is the most effective evidence-based prevention program initiated by D.A.R.E. USA. Besides the fact that it is very efficient, this program turned out to be cost-effective as well.

SADD, A Program Against Risky Behavior

Basically, SADD aims to teach students the dangers of drinking and driving and how can substance abuse affect their lives. The program provides students efficient prevention tools that allow them to take the best decisions and avoid risky activities that can be life-threatening. SADD also supports funding for various mental health services and for anti-violence programs in high schools.

A sign that says drug free zone
Make your life a drug free zone.


As stated above, Narconon is another highly important program that aims to prevent substance abuse in high schools. The program provides useful information regarding the side effects and social implications of drug consumption, and it teaches students how to resist external influences, whether they come from so-called friends or other people. The program focuses mainly on group discussions.

The Benefits Of Substance Abuse Programs

It is essential to teach students the dangers of substance abuse when they are young, to provide them quality principles for a healthy and happy life. This way, they are more likely to avoid smoking or drinking when they grow up. In other words, substance abuse education in junior high school is vital.
Prevention programs have numerous benefits. They not only warn students about the dangerous effects of substance abuse, but they also teach them how to develop essential decision-making skills that will help them fight drugs later in life. It must be mentioned, though, that the techniques and methods used in these prevention programs are different compared to the ones used several decades ago: they put emphasis on social skills and they help children become aware of the main misbeliefs regarding substance abuse.
To sum up, these are the basics of substance abuse prevention programs in high schools. They are highly effective and they come to support the substance abuse policy of every high school. Fortunately, there are many programs that focus on prevention nowadays, and the number of students that consume tobacco, alcohol and illegal substances are expected to drop even more in the following years.
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