It is important to understand that we all have a responsibility in youth prevention. A combination of parents, educators, and community leaders play a vital role in actively keeping our youth educated, and drug-free. As a community we are able to drastically reduce the chances of children and youth becoming involved with substance abuse through active participation of education, awareness, and positive engagement.
While we rely heavily on school-based prevention, the responsibility of protecting our children belongs to many other individuals and groups.
Schools and educators play an important role in early intervention too; however, the reinforcement of this education should be driven by parents, peers, mentors, and the community.
Parents are active agents in the lives of their children. Moms, dads, aunts and uncles can act as role models for their children and can be recognized as roots of social modeling. Children are influenced by the actions they are accustomed to and the social standards in which they are raised. Parents should take a positive approach to educating their child about the consequences of substance abuse and become aware of what their children may be exposed to. By talking with your child on a frequent basis parents are able to open up a dialogue and build a trusting relationship.
Adolescent peers generate social integration within school and other social groupings. When peer groups are more accepting of a person (or not) he or she is likely to be accepted in the group. This idea can be a backdrop of why it is important for our children to become engaged in healthy, positive social groups. Groups can be defined in a number of ways from sport teams to band to choir. Making sure our youth are expending time on other activities will help impact prevention efforts. Further, we want to be sure to connect our children with positive role models and older youth who can provide as mentors so that they become growing leaders as well.
The greater community has a responsibility to provide opportunities for positive youth involvement. We as a community must be able to examine the needs of the community and indentify ways we can help our children overcome the barriers of substance use and abuse. By targeting areas of need we can better equip our youth to become agents of change throughout the community. Through a more comprehensive approach, we as a community should pay special attention to the establishment and enforcement of ordinance’s restricting youth access. Effective partnerships throughout the community create a linkage in which we can all unite and establish cohesive preventive measures.
Substance use and abuse prevention is a responsibility of the community – let’s all take our part.
Regional Community Liaison
Prevention Resource Center – Region 1
Managed Care Center for Addictive and Other Disorders, Inc.
1715 26th Street, Lubbock, TX 79411