Holding meth at bay is difficult process
The concept of drug abuse prevention sounds pretty
simple on the surface:
1) Identify populations that are vulnerable to the
temptations of drug use, and
2) Give them information they can use to make the
choice not to get involved.
Easily stated, not as easily completed.
Some of the potential problems:
- lack of funding for materials and trainers
- some governments not receptive to anti-drug
- difficulty getting communities into motion
To put the difficulty into perspective, look at some basic groups that need large doses of prevention:
The individual child -- The big risks are those with drug-abusing friends, children with lots of free time on their hands or so-called "latchkey" kids who have three to five unsupervised hours to spend
alone every day after school. To keep this group on the straight and narrow requires lots of information, mentoring and supervision -- none of which are cheap or easy to provide.
Families – One of our greatest challenges is identifying and assisting families who need help with preventing their children from becoming involved with drugs. Methamphetamine has a real attraction for youth because of its seeming power to give them more energy. Young women also find the appetite-suppressing nature of the drug appealing because it helps them lose weight.
Parenting and anti-drug programs are essential in helping families understand the environment in which their children are living, the indicators of drug usage, and how parents can educate and interact with their children to prevent drug abuse and addiction.
Schools -- Critical elements of in-school anti-drug work are teaching teachers the basics of drug-abuse prevention and providing it on a steady basis. Many schools are now overwhelmed with demands for good test scores and limited budgets. As a result, students may not be exposed to drug education on more than a hit-and-miss bases. Some prevention experts think only consistent K-12 drug education will keep the vulnerable students from using drugs.
Communities -- As risks for drug epidemics in neighborhoods become apparent, members must step up and endorse a variety of processes -- from placing billboards and passing out literature to building coalitions of individuals or neighborhoods and organizing meth action teams. Once more, good prevention programs grow not only from good training and training materials but from inspiration from within the communities themselves.
While thousands of training sessions and community mobilization take place every year, many more are needed. See some prevention guidelines in the navigation bar at right or click on the icon above to see how a community builds it own meth action team.