KCCI.com, IA 06-28-06 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 school. 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. Copyright 2006 by KCCI.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.