Drug and Alcohol Prevention: An Actionable Approach

Too often, kids are bombarded with fear tactics during drug and alcohol prevention programs. Take a fresh spin on this critical discussion with positive messaging and actionable steps.

Positive Drug and Alcohol Prevention Messages

Don't do this, don't do that - kids are zoning out. Focus instead on the positive messages you want students to internalize about drug and alcohol prevention!

You are Capable of Making Tough Decisions

Positive Drug and Alcohol Prevention MessagesAdolescents get a bad rap for having poor judgment, but this can be a self-fulfilling prophesy. We aren't giving them enough credit! Teens are highly capable of making good choices, especially in the face of adversity. (In case you don't remember, every day of middle school was torture!)

Identify and praise positive decision-making whenever possible. Give specific examples and name the positive choice they chose over the negative alternative. Ask teens to reflect on these questions:

  • What was difficult about this situation?
  • How did you reach your decision?
  • What were the possible negative consequences? What were the positive ones?

Above all, tell them that you are proud of them. This reinforces their self-perception that they are trust-worthy, mature, and capable of making tough choices. When the time comes to say no to drugs or alcohol, they'll be confident in their own decision-making.

Your Goals are Worth It

Encourage students to continually set goals, big and small. Hold them accountable by following up with them, showing interest in their progress. During the drug and alcohol prevention, have open and explicit conversations about what impact drugs or alcohol will have on their dreams. Celebrate the small successes along the way to remind them that staying focused on their goals (and drug free) is worth it!

A Drug and Alcohol Prevention Action Plan

Make drug and alcohol prevention stick by providing students with clear steps for a plan of action.

Set Limits

A Drug and Alcohol Prevention Action PlanReally saying no to drugs and alcohol is more complicated than corny role-playing games. In reality, the offer isn't going to come from a stranger- it'll probably come from a friend.

Help students prepare for this uncomfortable confrontation by having them create and set limits. These limits are like a personal code of ethics and can be used to navigate tough situations. Examples:

  • I will not attend parties hosted by people I don't personally know, or where no adult is present
  • I have an exit strategy planned with a trusted adult to remove myself from an environment where drugs or alcohol are present
  • I will not knowingly put myself in the company of people using drugs or alcohol

Make a Commitment

Drug and alcohol prevention is about being proactive. Encourage teens to find an extra-curricular that ignites their passion. An active kid is less likely to get bored and try drugs and alcohol, but more importantly, most extracurriculars have a zero tolerance policy for drugs and alcohol. When kids align themselves with a drug-free organization, they'll feel validated and supported in their own decision to abstain from alcohol and drugs.

One impactful positive message can change students lives. Create a turnaround moment for your student body with motivational speaker Joel Penton. A real-life example of hard work and commitment, this National Championship Football winner inspires with positive and practical drug and alcohol prevention strategies that will put your students on the right path!


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