A new program has shown signs of helping in making a difference on alcohol and drug abuse issues, as well as on behavioral problems, among African-American teens.
Study author Gene Brody said that after two years of offering the program to parents and their kids, a new study conducted on participants showed that there has been a decrease in the number of drugs and alcohol abuse and in behavioral problems in the targeted population.
“During the high school years is when kids often begin to use drugs and escalate their use of drugs, so it’s really an important time to introduce some prevention programs,” Brody said.
The program is specifically designed for African-American families. Parents and kids are given the opportunity to attend sessions on improving academic performance, resisting peer pressure, dealing with discrimination or racism, and effectively implementing household rules.
As African-American kids aged 16 and their parents go through the program, which consists of five two-hour sessions, they are supported and assisted by caregivers who provide them with tips on good parenting practices and setting rules on alcohol and drug abuse. Teens are taught about self-control and are guided to achieve improved academic standings.
The participants came from rural areas. While it may be true that kids in rural areas have lower drug and alcohol abuse cases compared to their urban counterparts, recent studies have shown that risks are increasing.
Brody confirms that their program is warmly received by their target population. “There was great excitement around the program. These parents realize, there’s not a lot of opportunity to help them or to help their youth develop in a way that’s going to put them on a path to success.”
He is hopeful, despite some financial obstacles encountered, that they could share the program to more parents and kids in other key areas.