The Boys and Girls Clubs of America offers a variety of support services for children, including education and alcohol and drug prevention. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), a government agency, offers school programs with proven techniques to decrease or prevent substance abuse in students. Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.) involves police officers as a presence to encourage children toward a healthy lifestyle. The National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign uses media and educational materials to fight drug use at the school level. Two government programs, the Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Strengthening America's Families, also focus on substance abuse prevention in schools and engage parents or guardians in the process.
School anti-drug programs gained popularity during the 1980s when these programs entered the classroom. Although programs vary in nature, the education helps children from kindergarten through senior high with the ability to stand against peer pressure and live drug-free lives. All types of agencies serve schools in drug prevention programs. These may operate on local, state or the national level.
A 2006 study, conducted by the Ohio State University Research Department, concluded that a school anti-drug program involving both curriculum and media cut substance abuse in half. The study looked at 16 communities nationwide, which involved 4,216 students. Students responded via questionnaires to cigarette, alcohol and marijuana use four times during a two year period. The most effective prevention method combined media and curriculum, although using only media worked made a larger impact than only using school curriculum.
School anti-drug programs cover several subjects related to substance abuse. Typical units might include an introduction, living a successful life, building self-esteem, working with others, effective communication, motivation, discipline, responsibility, facing new challenges, stress management and drugs and sex.
Schools in each one of the 50 states teach the D.A.R.E. program, just one of the many school anti-drug programs available. In addition to the solid presence in the United States, D.A.R.E serves 43 other counties. According to the D.A.R.E. website, as of 2009, 72 percent of all school districts nationwide use the D.A.R.E. program.
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