Identifying Students at Risk for Drug Use

Among the factors that place youth at risk for drug use are the following:

Family history of alcoholism; criminal or antisocial behavior; family structure and management problems; early antisocial behavior and hyperactivity.

Youths at risk for drug use need more targeted extensive drug prevention efforts including special services such as the following:

1. Before-and after-school child care: counseling services; alternative learning programs.

Background for Teachers
Grades K-3 (ages 5-8)
Children in grades K-3 are optimistic, eager, and excited about learning. They see that life has a lot to offer and they are impatient with what they perceive as the slowness of the growing-up process.
Drug prevention education at this young age should:
Help children develop problem-solving and decision-making skills; help children assess the validity of information sources;
Enhance children's ability to communicate with trustworthy people in their lives; continue to build optimistic, positive self-perceptions in children;
Recognize that children in grades K-3 are motivated by a desire to please others, especially adults, a desire to know how to do things, and a desire to be older than they are.
In working with children in grades K-3, adults need to understand their role as models of appropriate behavior for children; guide young children in the development of personal responsibility by supervising them and being available as a resource for support and information while gradually allowing them more independence.
Help children separate fact from fantasy--this means helping children assess the credibility of information from various sources such as television, a peer, or a trusted adult.
Classroom lessons on drug prevention should follow these guidelines:
Focus on the present regarding things young children know about or have experienced., place little emphasis on evaluating how well students recall information or perform activities, present lessons in an open and supportive atmosphere, provide opportunities for students to develop a sense of self-confidence. Provide some basic information about drugs and their use, foster a learning environment in which students feel comfortable asking questions and making decisions also foster a learning environment in which students are encouraged to be responsible for themselves and others.

Facts about Alcohol and Other Drugs

Grades K-3

Drug prevention education

Drug prevention lessons and activities in grades K-3 should:
Keep information simple and direct; focus on life skills, such as decision making and problem solving;
not glamorize or instill inappropriate fear about drugs; emphasize that most people do not use drugs;
emphasize the development of responsibility for self and others;
encourage the development of self-confidence;
and emphasize information over evaluation and testing.

In working with parents of children in grades K-3, keep in mind the following:
Most parents do not believe that their children would become involved with drugs,
many parents may need help to talk with their children about drugs,
some parents might not know important facts about drugs, such as their names and how they are used,
parents might not know how much their children know about drugs,
parents might push their children into situations they cannot handle socially, emotionally, or intellectually,
parents need to know what their children are learning and experiencing at school,
some parents have alcohol and other drug problems that make it difficult for them to deal with the drug prevention message.

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