“The majority of those who have a substance use disorder started using before age 18 and developed their disorder by age 20,” according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) > Principles of Adolescent Substance Use Disorder Treatment: A Research-Based Guide » Introduction.
Given this fact, “What does effective substance abuse prevention look like — is it awareness programs in middle school and/or high school? — is it ‘Just Say, “No”? or it is __________________?”
In my opinion, based on my twelve years studying, writing and speaking about 21st century brain research as it relates to brain development, adolescent behavior, mental illness and “all-things” addiction, effective substance abuse prevention should involve the following:
- Helping Parents and Parents-to-Be Understand How the Brain Develops In Utero through Age 25
- Helping Children, Teachers and Others of Influence in a Child’s Life Understand How the Brain Develops In Utero through Age 25
- Helping All Concerned Understand Substance Use Disorders
To celebrate National Substance Abuse Prevention Month – October 2015…
Listen to Michael Botticelli, Director of National Drug Control Policy’s, message:
And, browse through some of the key information I’ve found and/or used and/or written that addresses the three areas I listed above:
Helping Parents and Parents-to-Be Understand How the Brain Develops In Utero through Age 25
- U.S. National Library of Medicine > MedlinePlus > Fetal Development – as you read through this, you’ll learn at which stages brain development occurs In Utero, which is why it is so important for a woman to avoid drugs or alcohol during pregnancy and follow other medical recommendations for maintaining a healthy pregnancy.
- NIDA Drugs, Brains, and Behavior: The Science of Addiction > Drugs and the Brain > Introducing the Human Brain – this explains how the brain works, which explains why drugs and alcohol (and other influences, such as genetics, childhood trauma, mental illness) can change the way a child’s (or an adult’s) brain works.
- Partnership for Drug-Free Kids > The Teen Brain – you’ll find an explanation of the adolescent brain and it’s development. I also urge you to check out the Parntership’s Parent Tool Kit.
- CDC and Kaiser Permanente > Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) Study – an important study explaining the role of adverse childhood experiences on brain development and long-term wellness. This study is now being used as the basis for “trauma-informed” programs in schools, juvenile justice, communities, and for this information, I urge you to explore the website, ACEs Too High.
- Lisa Frederiksen > Want to Get Through to Teens | Talk to Their Brains – one of my blog posts to help parents talk to their teen by using simplified brain research.
Helping Children, Teachers and Others of Influence in a Child’s Life Understand How the Brain Develops In Utero through Age 25
In addition to the information presented above, check out:
- NIDA > Parents & Educators for a wealth of information and free resources to help teachers, parents and others of influence in a child’s life talk with children at various ages about their brains and the influence of alcohol and other drugs on their brains.
Helping All Concerned Understand Substance Use Disorders
One of the most important ways to prevent substance use disorders is to understand how they develop. It’s not simply the use of a drug or alcohol. Understanding how substance use disorders develop will help parents, educators, youth and others of influence in a child’s life understand what “it” is that they are trying to prevent. For this, I suggest you read:
Celebrate October as National Substance Abuse Prevention Month
…by sharing this post and any other information you may be aware of that can further the conversation – prevention is stopping it before it starts.