Case Study: Community-based Prevention Reduces Alcohol, Tobacco, & Marijuana Use
Indian River County, Florida, is devoted to providing adolescents and teens with the tools and skills needed to build confidence, courage, self-esteem, and to successfully handle challenging situations. They have implemented the Botvin LifeSkills Training (LST) program in a comprehensive, community-wide effort to reduce the likelihood of teen use throughout their community. In doing so, the County has demonstrated its commitment to reducing the risks of alcohol, tobacco, drug abuse, and violence by targeting the major social and psychological factors that promote the initiation of substance use and other risky behavior.
The Substance Awareness Center of Indian River County (SAC) in cooperation and partnership with the school board, superintendent, principals, faculty, law enforcement, and community members, provides all of the county’s 7 middle schools with LifeSkills Training. In addition, high school students receive a LifeSkills Training booster session.
In 2010, of the 67 counties in Florida, Indian River County was ranked 9th worst with underage drinking. Today, they have raised their ranking by 26 slots--to 35th best. SAC cites LifeSkills Training as being the key to this turnaround.
Each week, the trained LifeSkills Facilitators, employees of SAC, serve more than 4,300 students in 6th, 7th, and 8th grades, from August to May.
Each LST Facilitator offers a special brand of magic on their campus. Some special programs that reinforce the LST program are a nutrition class, Career Day followed by a Dress for Success Day, LST Lunch Bunch, and A Day without Media--Together Let’s Unplug, among others.
The LST Team also created a parent organization called F.U.S.E--Families Unite in Support and Engagement, and will be organizing small parent groups through PTAs, SACs (Student Advisory Committee), and in local neighborhoods to engage and unite parents to advocate for the health, safety, and well-being of every child.
LifeSkills Training is funded by a Prevention Partnership Grant from the Florida Department of Children and Families, United Way of IRC, Board of County Commissioners and private foundations.
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