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“In the past 20 years, prevention researchers have discovered a number of effective strategies. Including family-strengthening approaches to reduce alcohol and drug abuse in youth.” (Zili Sloboda 2006).
Protective factors:
The book states the five major types of protective family factors according to Bry and associates. These types are: 1. Supportive parent-child relationships 2. Positive discipline methods 3. Monitoring and supervision 4. Family advocacy for the children 5. Seeking information and support for the benefit of the children. (Zili Sloboda 2006). The more a program increases protective factors and decreases risk factors, the more likely it is to prevent substance abuse among youth (Risk and protective factors 2010).

Effective family approaches:
The book also states that the strongest pathway to drug use in high risk youth involves family risk or lack of family protective factors.” After an extensive review of all published research articles on family approaches, an expert panel determined that there was enough evidence to conclude that there were only four family approaches meet the National Institute of Cancer standard for strong level of evidence of effectiveness.” These four approaches are 1. Behavioral parent training 2. Family skills training or behavioral family therapy 3. Family therapy 4. In-home family support (Zili Sloboda 2006).

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Basic Principles:
The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has come up with several prevention principles that can be used to guide the selection process of effective programs. These principles are:
Comprehensive interventions are most effective at modifying a broad range of risk and protective factors in children, programs combining parent training and children’s skills training are more comprehensive in addressing more risk and protective factors, Family focused programs are more effective than programs that focus only on parents or children, Sufficient dosage or intensity is critical for effectiveness, Research suggests that to produce longitudinal effectiveness, the family intervention must be of sufficient dosage, at least 31 hours with average families, 45 hours for high risk families, and up to 100 hours for low income, crisis-prone families, Family programs should be long term and enduring, Short term interventions have little effect on high risk or in-crisis families, Tailoring the intervention to the cultural traditions of the families improves recruitment, retention, and effectiveness. Being able to understand the parenting assumptions of different ethnic groups participating in family programs improves program success, also understanding why the parents hold these values can improve program effectiveness, Developmentally appropriate risk and protective factors should be addressed when participants are receptive to change. Programs are most effective when the clients are ready for change.

Family programs are effective if they produce changes in the ongoing family dynamics and environment. Evidence suggests that programs that encourage families to hold weekly meetings after the program ends have the longest effectiveness because they change the internal family organization and communication patterns in positive and lasting ways, If parents are very dysfunctional, interventions beginning early in the life cycle are most effective, Components of effective parent and family programs include strategies for improving family relations, communication, and parental monitoring,
Lack of parental monitoring is a major family precursor to drug use. Effective programs start with improving the parent-child relationship and then focusing on family communications, parent monitoring and style of discipline, videos of families demonstrating good and bad parenting skills to help with program effectiveness and client satisfaction. Video based programs enhance long term program effectiveness (Zili Sloboda 2006).

These principles are used as guidelines to determine which programs are effective. Focusing on the family relationship, how to improve it and the family’s communication can be extremely helpful in reducing the risk of substance abuse. Another major factor is peer influence, so incorporating coping skills, and social skills would also help in reducing the risk of substance abuse. The more a program tries to reduce risk factors and increase protective factors, the more likely it is to be successful in preventing substance abuse. One strategy that stood out to me was the family skills training/behavioral therapy. I think this could be a very effective approach because it combines behavioral parent training, children’s social and life skills training, and family-relationship-enhancement and communication practice sessions. The behavioral parent training helps to improve parent-child attachment and improve child behaviors in behaviorally disordered children. Children’s life and social skills training include identification of feelings, anger, and emotional management, accepting and giving feedback, criticism or praise, problem solving, decision making, peer-resistance skills, communication skills and how to make and keep positive friends (Zili Sloboda 2006).
Since this is a multicomponent approach and it tries to teach skills that can be more effective in reducing substance abuse in youth. Interventions and Prevention should be started earlier rather than later because the younger someone is when they use substances, the more likely they are to abuse them later in life and then it becomes much more difficult to quit.
In the 2017 ‘Monitoring the future” survey, The data shows that use of illicit drugs except for marijuana are steady at the lowest levels in over two decades. (Drugabuse.gov). I think this shows that there are effective programs being implemented to help prevent the risk of substance abuse.
References
BIBLIOGRAPHY Preventing Drug Use among Children and Adolescents . (2003, October). Retrieved from Drugabuse.gov: https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/preventing-drug-abuse-among-children-adolescents/chapter-4-examples-research-based-drug-abuse-prevention-progr-1
Prevention. (2010). Retrieved from Youth.gov: https://youth.gov/youth-topics/substance-abuse/evidence-based-programs-youth-substance-abuse-prevention-and-treatment
ZIli Sloboda, W. J. (2006). Handbook of Substance Abuse Prevention Theory, Science, and Practice. New York, New York: Springer Science+Business Media, LLC.

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