In the past, drug-resistance programming has been information- based, built on scare-tactics, and created by adults for mainstream young people. Almost all of these programs have been unsuccessful in achieving their goals, especially for minority youth. Getting adolescents to change drug-using behaviors for any substantial length of time has proven to be a most difficult challenge. Research at Arizona State University has shown that young people can benefit by school-based prevention programs: (1) if those programs are culturally sensitive; (2) if those programs include resistance and life skills components that are created from the adolescents' own perspectives, (3) if those programs are presented in narrative form through multiple, interactive delivery methods, and (4) if those programs include a knowledge component that embraces both narrative and drug information. In other words, the messages must represent adolescent experiences and be presented in adolescents' voices.Under a project funded by a grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), the R.E.A.L. project was developed to find ways of decreasing adolescent drug use. This program is the result of a four year project to create, implement and evaluate a culturally grounded substance abuse prevention program in collaboration with thirty five middle schools in the city of Phoenix representing 5000 students. Instead of teaching youth students to just say no, the REAL program teaches them how to say no. Videos produced by youths for youths are a central component of the curricula. The resistance strategies incorporate the words: Refuse, Explain, Avoid and Leave (R.E.A.L.). REAL is also a part of the slogan used for school-based prevention: "keepin' it REAL". The program package, consists of a complete curriculum guide as well as three teaching manuals accompanied by video tapes culturally grounded with Mexican American, European American, and African American foci. A video tape containing public service announcements is also a part of the program package.
|Published - Mar 22 2002