Drug Abuse Prevention

Written by Christa Gatewood
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An old adage goes, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." That is seriously true when it comes to drug abuse. Drug abuse is at an epidemic level in this country and we are spending billions of dollars a year to combat it. Most of this money, however, is spent trying to treat those who are already addicted. Young people today need to be educated about drugs and alcohol abuse so that we can get a leg up on addiction.

Most drug addicts started either drinking or experimenting with drugs at a very young age. Had they been properly educated, they may never have turned to drugs or alcohol in the first place. The problem with educating young people is that they don't like to be told what to do. Many drug prevention programs talk down to young people and are entirely too prescriptive. Anyone can tell the "Just Say No" campaign of the 1980s was not a raging success.

How Best to Prevent Drug Abuse

A better approach to drug abuse prevention is to have a dialog with young people, talk straight to them, and tell the truth about drugs. Young people need to know that drugs do work. They make you feel good when you take them. At the same time, they need to know that what is a temporary high can ruin your whole life. It can damage your body; it can damage your mind. When young people are not preached to, but rather spoken to with respect, they are more likely to listen and respond.

All schools should provide some kind of drug prevention program for their students. However, it is not enough for schools to handle this subject alone, parents also have to be involved. Preventing anything can seem less urgent than fixing something, but preventing drug abuse is a life or death issue.

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