In the 1980s, drug and alcohol diversion programs began gaining momentum. Now these programs, which are endorsed by government agencies, corporate entities and even international organizations, go into schools and communities to help develop strategies to prevent addiction.
Above the Influence
Above the Influence is a multi-media campaign sponsored by the Office of National Drug Control Policy. The anti-drug and alcohol commercials produced by the campaign are among the ten most-watched television ads running in the country, according to IAG Research.
Above the Influence, part of the National Youth Anti-Drug Campaign, provides research-based facts, statistics, and entertaining videos about the consequences of risky behaviors. On the website Abovetheinfluence.com, teens, tweens and young adults can play games and activities, take quizzes, write poetry and watch podcasts that are produced for a youthful audience.
Behind all the fun, however, is a serious message. “Drugs interfere with your nervous system’s basic functions.” They change the way the brain works and processes information. Drugs release an abnormal amount of chemicals that fool the brain and cause temporary euphoria.
Caring School Community
Caring School Community (CSC) is an evidence-based program developed for kids in kindergarten through sixth grade. Their mission is to help students connect to the community and increase achievement in academics. Getting youth involved with school activities and community groups helps steer them away from violence, risky behavior and drug use.
CSC is a yearlong program that provides materials including posters and activity books for use in the classroom, as well as take-home assignments. Kids are trained to assume responsibility for their behavior. They’re taught fairness, helping others, being caring and showing respect. Previously known as the Child Development Project, CSC has gone under a 20-year evaluation. An overview of six different schools in urban and rural communities in diverse ethnic and economic areas found that 13 percent fewer students experimented with alcohol and 19 percent fewer students used marijuana compared to populations that did not have the program. Delinquent behavior among students that participated in the program in the past was also minimized by 13 percent.
PRIDE Youth Programs
Pride Youth Programs is one of the largest drug and alcohol diversion organizations for teens. Pride was born out of Parents Resource Institute for Drug Education, an organization started by concerned parents in Atlanta, Georgia.
Pride is one the oldest and largest peer organizations that educates teens on drug abuse and violence prevention. Pride organizes an annual conference for teams of students ranging in age from kindergarten to college. Today, Pride boasts thousands of members, holds a yearly conference for teams all over the country and offers programs for different target groups. America’s Pride trains 14 to 18 year old kids to provide peer mentorship and community outreach. Club Pride is a school-based program for 11 to 13-year olds. It teaches leadership, life and practical skills. The International Training Team teaches drug education and team development to college students.
Nearly all Pride members agree that the program increased their knowledge of the dangers of drug abuse. Most members of Pride programs become community volunteers.