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Drugs in society - Essay Example

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In today’s society, children are surrounded by subtle media influences, which seem to promote the fallacy that drug abuse and addiction improves the personality and image of young people from an early age…
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Drugs in Society Drugs in Society In today’s society, children are surrounded by subtle media influences, whichseem to promote the fallacy that drug abuse and addiction improves the personality and image of young people from an early age (Hammond, 2008). This has led to increase in the number of teen and adult drug users and addicts. The use of drugs in society often leads to the ruin of its users’ lives, and it has adverse effects on families and friends of the user/addict as well as entire communities (Hammond, 2008). Because of this, various attempts have been made to create drug prevention programs that can effectively curb the abuse of drugs in society today. However, not all such programs have been effective in terms of preventing or at least reducing drug abuse. This paper analyzes four common drug prevention programs in order to identify the strengths that influence their effectiveness in comparison to the other programs. Drug prevention programs that are a family based is by far the most effective in fighting drug abuse. This is due to several factors. Firstly, such programs can be launched at a remarkably young stage of a family member’s life, and they can be extended for the entire life span. This is highly beneficial because this means there is sufficient time to create awareness on the risks and danger of drug abuse among children before they reach the highly vulnerable teen years (Hammond, 2008). Besides community based programs, family based programs are the only ones that have this advantage of being able to offer prevention intervention from an extremely early age. The other reason why family based programs are effective is that those who implement these programs have sufficient time to conduct followed ups (Hammond, 2008). While all drug prevention programs may be efficient in providing the necessary drug abuse prevention education or guidance, not all are able to follow up on how the recipients of this guidance respond. In family based programs, the instructors are often parents and guidance who spend vast amounts of time with their children, and hence they monitor progress made. These follow ups are paramount to the success of a drug prevention program because they make it easier to determine/evaluate if the person(s) being educated on drug abuse needs further guidance or clarification. The other crucial success factor of these programs is their ability to use content that is appropriate for the age of those being targeted (Hammond, 2008). The only demerit of this program is that it is dependent upon early implementation on pre-teen children, since its execution in a child’s teenage years is often hindered by teenage rebellious behavior against parents and guardians (Dusenbury, 2000). Community based drug prevention programs are quite similar to family based programs in terms of their promotion of culturally suitable drug prevention techniques (Mongomery & Flay, 1998). However, these programs are fundamentally unique in that they involve more stakeholders and hence their efficiency is often heightened. One of the main reasons why these programs are effective is the fact that, (unlike those that are family-based) the stakeholders involved in the implementation of such programs use both social interaction and scientific based knowledge to formulate effective plans to address the hazards of drug abuse and addiction (Mongomery & Flay, 1998). The advantage of basing drug abuse intervention plans on scientific knowledge is that such knowledge is derived from tried and tested prevention methods that are likely to be more effective. Unlike family based programs, the effectiveness of community-based programs is not limited by age, and they can be used across all demographics without fear of inefficiency. Studies have also shown that community based drug prevention programs are less non-stigmatizing than school and family based programs, and this makes them effective in fighting drug abuse among people who have already started using drugs (Mongomery & Flay, 1998). The use of school based programs to prevent drug use and addiction dates back to over three decades ago. From the National Institute of Drug Abuse, use of such programs has proven to be effective mainly because (as with family based programs) they are easily implemented over a long time (Hammond, 2008). Such programs are able to reinforce their message of drug prevention repeatedly at different stages in children’s life. This repeated reinforcement creates permanent impressions in the minds of children even in their adulthood and this makes such programs successful in thwarting drug abuse (Hammond, 2008). When drug prevention programs are integrated into school curriculum, continuous school assessment tests to evaluate understanding of students. As with any program, effective evaluation is noteworthy since it establishes if there are information-gaps that still to be addressed in the drug prevention program in order for the program to be successful. The school-based program has the most efficient evaluation mechanism in relation to the other programs discussed herein. Peer based drug prevention programs are also quite efficient. These programs are based on the hypothesis that as children get older, they value the opinions of their peers more than those of parents or teachers (Hammond, 2008). As such, these programs are extremely efficient in preventing drug abuse among teenage children. The major strength of these programs is that they highly interactive and all participants (those offering guidance and those being guided) are able to relate more easily. It is, however, necessary to note that adult supervision is essential to the effectiveness of teen-based programs. Overall, the most successful drug and addiction prevention programs incorporate most of the success factors of the programs discussed above. These include; incorporating content/knowledge that is based on tried and tested research findings, covering a wide time span and using content that is appropriate for the age of those being targeted. Finally, Successful programs are also interactive and contain a sufficient evaluation mechanism. References Dusenbury, L. (2000). Family- Based Drug Abuse Prevention Programs: A Review. Journal of Primary Prevention , 20 (4), 337-352. Hammond, A. (2008). Drug Prevention Programs. New York: VDM Verlag. Mongomery, S., & Flay, B. R. (1998). Effects of A Community- Based Prevention Program on Decreasing Drug Use in High Risk Adolelescents. American Journal of Public Health , 88 (6), 944-948. Read More
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