• Jennifer Rhoad

Youth Prevention by Delani Leary

Updated: Sep 10, 2020

Recognizing that local problems need local solutions, the Smithville CIA seeks to mobilizing 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 abuse among youth and, over time, among adults by addressing the factors in a community that increase the risk of substance abuse and promoting the factors that minimize the risk of substance abuse.

We have asked some of these community members to tell us why they have become involved in the Smtihville Community in Action Coalition and why prevention is important for them. This month, we have asked Delani Leary to provide her youth voice for the blog



Youth/My perspective -

The world today is home to one of the largest generations of youth in history.

Being a youth in today's society, I can say that the use of drugs and alcohol has been somewhat normalized to speak of. Gossiping about people getting caught with substances in school, going out of your way to obtain a pound of what is believed to be heaven on earth. I personally never understood this debate. While one side actively avoids and speaks against these risk behaviors, the other speaks of it as if it’s what they live for.


Why prevention is important to/for youth -

Youth are the most important target group of prevention. The primary objective of drug prevention is to help people, often particularly young people, to avoid or delay initiation into the use of drugs. Substance use and its negative consequences can have a profound negative impact on the development of youth, and compromise their educational paths, work life and contribution to society. Prevention also has a broader purpose, which is to support the development of children and youth allowing them to realize their talents and potential. Youth participation today is essential to the success of future generations.


How we can become involved -

Our role as youth in prevention should be more active. There is almost always potential for strengthening youth involvement and their sense of ownership. For example, some of the local opportunities for students to be involved in prevention include SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions), Interact, Student Coalition, Trading Card Mentor Program, and Youth with Vision. The aim is to allow youth to exchange ideas, visions and different perspectives on how to better protect the health and well-being of their peers and provide them with an opportunity to convey their joint message. The power of youth participation, exploring their full potential as a force for change. If you are interested in becoming an active part in prevention as a youth, I encourage you to find more information and contact your area's coalition to see how you can become involved.


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