Updated: Aug 13, 2020
Recognizing that local problems need local solutions, the Smithville CIA seeks to mobilize the entire community— youth, parents, teachers, police, reporters, extra-curricular instructors, health care providers, faith communities, business professionals, civic leaders, government representatives, and other Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drug providers. We know that strategically aligning not only the “movers and shakers,” but also the “grassroots” folks who have strong links within neighborhoods and informal institutions, reduce substance use among youth and, over time, among adults by reducing community risk factors and promoting the factors that build resilience and protect against substance abuse.
We have asked some of these community members to tell us why they have become involved in the Smithville Community in Action Coalition and why prevention is important for them. This month we have information from a Smithville High School student who is involved with the coalition. Jenna Jennings writes:
At this moment, there are hundreds of prevention programs being used in schools all across the nation. Their goal is to create a safe environment and inform teens about the risks of abusing drugs, alcohol, etc. Research has shown that these prevention programs have had a significant effect on youth prevention. As a drug and alcohol-free teen, these prevention programs keep me on track from wandering down the wrong path. For my other peers, these prevention programs give light to the numerous, and possibly fatal, risks to what they do almost every day.
Importance of Youth Prevention
One reason why youth prevention tactics are important is that they educate teens on how to say “no” when they are in a peer pressure situation. They explain that, in reality, giving in to peer pressure only makes you look and feel worse. This can play a huge role in prevention because, unfortunately, most teens try drugs in order to feel like they can “fit in”. Another reason why youth prevention tactics are important is that they enhance problem-solving skills. Prevention programs focus on problem-solving skills to ensure that teens have responsibility and independence come adulthood.
Teens are able to participate in prevention efforts in numerous ways. Most high schools have clubs where you can help teach others about the dangers of using and abusing drugs and alcohol. You might also find organizations in your community that work towards creating drug and alcohol-free lifestyles. For example, Youth With Vision: Northland is a student-led prevention organization made up of young leaders in the Northland. In Youth With Vision, teens are able to focus on creating a drug-free community. Teen participation in organizations like this can hopefully inspire their peers to join in on the journey to creating healthy lifestyles!