Substance And Alcohol Use Prevention In Low-Income High Schools Of Austin
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Substance and alcohol misuse continues to plague our nation in years of life lost and money expended. Substance and alcohol use initiation before the age of 18 has been found to be one of the most predictive factors of developing a substance or alcohol use disorder later in life. Adolescence is a critical time to intervene with primary prevention or early intervention efforts. While effective treatments are being developed for those already suffering from addiction, the best course of action is to give young people skills to prevent early substance and alcohol use. Starting in the mid-1900s, alcohol and substance use prevention programs began to be implemented in high schools. While success rates among different programs vary, the school environment is an effective environment to reach many adolescents. This thesis reviewed the literature on substance and alcohol use prevalence among adolescents, as well as the outcomes of early use. Then a comparison was done between successful and unsuccessful programs to determine which program factors are more successful in preventing early substance and alcohol use initiation. Next, service providers from four different Austin-area high schools were interviewed. Qualitative data was collected on their perceptions of substance and alcohol use prevalence in their school, presence or absence of substance and alcohol use prevention programs in the curriculum, and perceptions of the resources and barriers to implementing these programs. Finally, the literature review and qualitative interview data were used to propose recommendations for the schools to implement programs that would be most effective for preventing substance and alcohol use initiation.