KCCI.com, IA 06-28-06 Community-Based Program Works To Curb Teen Drug Use

KCCI.com, IA
Community-Based Program Works To Curb Teen Drug Use
ISU, Institute Launch Effort To Strengthen Family Relationships
DES MOINES, Iowa -- Research shows that Iowa teenagers are 50 percent less
likely to use drugs if their family is part of a community-based extension program.
The Partnerships in Prevention Institute through the Iowa State University
Extension has created two programs that work directly with parents and teens
build better relationships in an effort to prevent substance abuse.
Teenagers face pressures every day and parents don't always know if their
children are making the right decisions.
"As parents we're all nervous and we're concerned (that) we're not doing the right
things and also we worry we're the only ones dealing with the situation," said
Partnerships in Prevention Institute coordinator Eugenia Hanlon.
"It's very interesting to watch these families. The parents are crying because they
learn their kids are so interesting. The kids are crying because they didn't know
their parents could be so much fun. So, it's just a real bond that builds between
them," said program team leader Janet Brown.
Team leaders said the seven-week sessions focus on peer pressure, values, the
importance of setting rules and having regular family meetings.
It's not that families lack these skills, but just need a little help.
"In families, it's often difficult. How do you start the conversation about drug and
alcohol use? How do you start implementing family rules if you haven't been
using them in the past?" Hanlon said.
Research shows that teens from families who develop these skills are less likely
to use drugs or abuse alcohol, they are less aggressive and they do better in
Experts said that communities also save money.
Studies show there's nearly a $10 return on every $1 invested in these
prevention efforts.
"Because of reduced cost related to absenteeism at work because of reduced
cost in the health care setting," said PPSI's Director Richard Spoth.
Researchers said that now the challenge is getting more communities to invest in
these programs.
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