Questions and Answers

Drug Prevention

National and international drug prevention networks, community leaders and strong community coalitions are the key to changing public attitudes and reducing the availability of illicit drugs worldwide. Some effective tactics include promoting drug demand reduction principles and raising awareness about the societal consequences of drug abuse and addiction. Below you will learn about many other strategies that have been implemented and have successfully decreased the use of drugs from the global to the local perspective.

How can we prevent drug use throughout the world?

    • Countries can work in concert with the United Nations to reduce the demand for drugs by utilizing effective practices in treatment, law enforcement and prevention.
    • Drug use itself should be targeted by educational efforts having a clear message of abstinence.
    • The human trafficking and senseless violence practiced by the drug trade must be brought to light by journalists free to report on these tragedies.
    • Governments, businesses and philanthropic organizations all bear the costs of drug use and, therefore, should commit to fund drug prevention efforts for the long term.
    • Research should also be funded and continued to discover the best ways of communicating a drug free message and a positive attitude toward healthy lifestyle choices.
    • Prevention education should always be sensitive to cultural differences and present as paramount the value of human life and the human right to live free from the bonds of addiction.
    • Our world leaders must be educated about the vast societal costs of drug use and become a part of each country’s prevention strategy.
    • Policymakers should be aware of the United Nations’ guidelines against drug use as well as their own countries’ acceptance of those signed treaties against illegal drugs and drug trafficking.

How can we contribute to preventing drug use in the United States?

    • People need to be encouraged that drug use is not normal or a part of everyone’s maturing process.
    • 2007 surveys tell us that 92% of Americans do not use drugs, so we don’t have to tolerate drug use in others.
    • We can increase funding for prevention efforts and education to raise awareness of the dangers of drugs at every school level – from elementary to college.
    • We should work to keep our laws tough against marijuana use on the federal and state levels to ensure that more people do not fall into addiction.
    • Research into ways of safely delivering any promising chemicals found in cannabis should be continued in order to help those who could benefit from medicines derived from the marijuana plant.
    • The establishment of and funding for drug courts – the only chance some have to get the help they need - must be supported to help the addicted.
    • We need to seriously consider how implementing drug testing can help identify those in need of treatment in the workplace and in schools.

How can we help prevent drug use in our communities?

    • We need to ensure that drug prevention includes schools, workplaces, community centers, places of worship and families who unite to communicate an abstinence-based, healthy lifestyle.
    • Youth should be an essential part of prevention efforts.
    • Treatment that leads to elimination of drug use lets the addicted know that we have not given up on their lives; we care enough as a community to help them achieve their goals.
    • Communities should work together to increase activities that form an alternative to drug use, especially for our youth.

How can we help our schools to be drug free?

    • Drug education curricula should present a clear, no use message.
    • School administration, parent groups and student organizations should consistently support healthy, drug free lifestyles and reject ‘safe’ or ‘responsible’ use messages.
    • Random student drug testing gives students an easy out for peer pressure and an inarguable reason to say no.
    • The school community should encourage positive reinforcement for good choices and support consequences for inappropriate behavior.
    • School administrators should promote an open dialogue and listen to concerns about drug use in their schools.
    • Drug or alcohol abuse is not a rite of passage or inevitable; in fact, most students do not use drugs.

What are some proven ways parents can help prevent drug use?

    • Talk to your children – initiate the conversation about not using drugs, utilize current events as examples, be honest about your history to encourage their trust, devise a plan about how to rescue your child from a risky situation, establish ground rules for expected behavior and enforce those rules consistently.
    • Have family dinners – kids who eat with their families less than 3 times a week are 2 ½ times more likely to have used tobacco and marijuana.
    • Monitor your teen’s activities and his internet use - prescription drugs are easily obtained without a prescription via the web and have been proven to lead to illegal drug use.
    • Be an example – children do what they see.
    • Be active in your house of worship – a teen who is involved religiously is half as likely to use marijuana as a teen who isn’t.
    • Recognize your role as the single most influential factor in your child’s life and rise to the challenge.
    • Educate yourself about the most commonly abused drugs and their effects here.

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