Drug Abuse Prevention Pilot Launched
December 19, 2016
Governor Ducey’s Office of Youth, Faith and Family is pleased to announce the preliminary results of a seventh-grade pilot drug prevention program – Healthy Families – Healthy Youth. The pilot program funded through the Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Prevention Block Grant reached all fifteen counties impacting seventh-grade youth and their parents/caregivers across Arizona. The back-to-school night of education allowed participating seventh-grade families the opportunity to learn about the dangers of adolescent drug use and create a family prevention plan to stay drug free during this critical transition school year.
“We chose seventh grade because Arizona youth most often begin using alcohol or other drugs between 12 – 13 years of age,” stated Debbie Moak, Director of the Governor’s Office of Youth, Faith and Family. “With nine out of ten addicts first drinking alcohol, smoking cigarettes or using other illicit drugs before the age of 18, it is imperative that we scale effective prevention programs to reach all Arizona youth and their families.”
Participating schools implemented the program during a back-to-school night, as not to interfere or detract from classroom instructional time. Many of the schools partnered with local substance abuse coalitions, county public health offices and other community resources on the night of the event to strengthen family, school and community relationships throughout the school year.
“Been here 30 years and I was amazed at the parent and students working together to form a plan for saying no,” stated one program facilitator. “I felt that the material was non-threatening and blameless which gave our parents and students the freedom to carry on serious discussions.”