Magazine article Work & Family Life

Focus on Life Skills Is Best Antidrug Strategy

Magazine article Work & Family Life

Focus on Life Skills Is Best Antidrug Strategy

Article excerpt

Studies have found that a five-year TV advertising campaign aimed at keeping kids off drugs was unsuccessful. High school drug use is about the same as it was in 1975.

A more effective antidrug strategy is one that focuses on helping young people cope with the demands and stresses in their daily lives, according to a growing body of research. Wall Street Journal health columnist Tara Parker-Pope writes that the following basic principles have proven to be more effective: Teaching coping skills. The LifeSkills Training course, a rigorous curriculum created by Gilbert J. Botvin of Cornell University's Weill Medical Center, has reduced teen use of cigarettes, alcohol and marijuana by 66%. The basic approach is to build a child's confidence to do all sorts of things in the real world such as preparing for a job interview or learning how to rebuff a classmate who asks to copy some homework.

Talking about one drug at a time. While the broad antidrug campaign didn't work, media attention to specific drugs such as inhalants and cocaine, did make a difference. …

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