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Engaging High-Risk Youth in Prevention Programs

Most adults with substance abuse disorders start using drugs during adolescence. Most prevention programs have been designed for younger youth, with programs for older teens—especially those at high risk who are likely to have already initiated drug use—being limited. A recent study examined the effectiveness of involving high-risk older youth in the process of adapting an evidence-based prevention program, keepin' it REAL (kiR), for their high-risk peers in one Texas community. Youth in this community had found that the original kiR program did not reflect their cultural values and life experiences so they were invited to adapt the program to be more culturally relevant for their peers. The researchers found that the adaptation process successfully engaged youth who would ordinarily have been resistant to prevention programs and messages and that those participating in the adapted kiR program showed significantly greater decreases in their acceptance of drugs such as alcohol. They suggest that engaging youth in the process of designing culturally grounded substance abuse prevention programs for their high-risk peers warrants further study.

Photo of a group of teens


Evidence for Site-Specific, Systematic Adaptation of Substance Prevention Curriculum With High-Risk Youths in Community and Alternative School Settings, Lori K. Holleran Steiker, Laura M. Hopson, Jeremy T. Goldbach & Charletta Robinson, Journal of Child & Adolescent Substance Abuse, Volume 23, Issue 5, 2014 pp 307-317. Published online: 08 Aug 2014 - http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/1067828X.2013.869141#

This page was last updated October 2014

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