Setting the Standard for Drug Prevention Among Youth

CCSA releases Canada’s first national standards to help schools, communities and families prevent substance abuse among Canadian youth

Ottawa, November 22, 2010 – Schools, families and community practitioners now have a practical prevention resource guide to help prevent and stop youth from using drugs.The first national resource of its kind in Canada, the Portfolio of Canadian Standards for Youth Substance Abuse Prevention provides prevention teams with step-by-step guidance—based on the best available evidence—on how to plan, implement and evaluate prevention efforts in schools, communities and families.

“These professionals are often faced with multiple responsibilities and have limited access to resources,” says Michel Perron, CEO of the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse (CCSA). “Having a single resource that provides both a theoretical overview and practical tools is invaluable.”

“A renewed focus on drug prevention is a major component of the Obama administration’s push to restore balance to our drug control efforts and implement a public health approach to reducing drug abuse and its consequences,” says R. Gil Kerlikowske, Director of the U.S. Office of National Drug Control Policy. “We look forward to collaborating with Canada to foster stronger prevention efforts—a crucial component in reducing the demand for drugs in both of our nations.”

Not unlike the U.S., substance abuse among Canadian youth is a significant issue, with more than 60 per cent of illegal drug users aged 15–24. And the earlier youth start, the more severe the harms, which range from injury and overdose to brain damage and failing grades.

“Prevention programs are the first line of defence in preventing and reducing drug use among youth,” says Perron. “When done well, they are the best investment we can make—our kids will do better in school and develop into healthy adults ready to take on the world.”

Everyone plays a role in prevention The Canadian Standards Portfolio stresses that prevention needs to occur within the larger community and be linked to both school-based and family-skills-based programs.

There are three books in the Canadian Standards Portfolio:

• Building on our Strengths (for school-based programs)
• Stronger Together (for community-based programs)
• Strengthening our Skills (for family-skills-based programs)

The Canadian Standards Portfolio draws upon the best and most recent evidence on what works in prevention to:

• Provide teams with expert guidance to strengthen the effectiveness of new and existing initiatives
• Identify key elements found in effective programs
• Provide practical tools to improve the quality of care

“The Standards are an excellent guide for how to develop and enhance our own programs,” says Bill Tucker, Eastern Vice President of the Canadian Association of Principals—an organization that has enthusiastically endorsed the School-based Standards.

To obtain a free digital copy of the Portfolio of Canadian Standards for Youth Substance Abuse Prevention, visit CCSA’s website. One print copy will be sent free of charge to individuals/organizations that request this resource.

A Drug Prevention Strategy for Canada’s Youth

The Portfolio of Canadian Standards for Youth Substance Abuse Prevention is part of a CCSA-led Drug Prevention Strategy for Canada’s Youth, a five-year initiative that aims to reduce illegal drug use by Canadian youth aged 10–24. It involves stakeholders from across the country and is funded through the federal government’s National Anti-Drug Strategy.

Two other initiatives developed through the work of CCSA’s Strategy are, an innovative drug prevention website for youth; and now URL-TV, Canada’s first online healthy lifestyle television channel for youth. These tools have been developed to complement prevention efforts in the community and provide youth with information and positive messages to support them in making healthy choices.

About CCSA
With a legislated mandate to reduce alcohol- and other drug-related harms, the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse (CCSA) provides leadership on national priorities, fosters knowledge translation within the field, and creates sustainable partnerships that maximize collective efforts. CCSA receives funding support from Health Canada.

For more information contact:

Stephen D’Angelo
Playbook Communications
416-690-5777 ext. 164

Donna Lindell
Playbook Communications
416-690-5777 ext. 166

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