The prevention of drug abuse should start inside the family unit as early as possible. There are many obvious benefits of home-based drug prevention education including self-awareness, and the enhancement of parent-child communication skills and family bonding. Parental supervision and involvement are critical in adolescents. Parents must not only have a plan to educate their children on the dangers of drug use and abuse, but they must also establish and enforce family rules. This includes creating an effective system of monitoring their children’s activities. Below are Family-Based evidence-based interventions based on WHO/UNDOC International Drug Abuse Prevention Standards (2018);

Infancy and Early Childhood (0-5 Years): Evidence-Based Strategies

Interventions for Pregnant Women with Substance Abuse Disorders: Characteristics Linked to Positive Outcomes*

Here is a summary of the effective evidence-based interventions and policies for the infancy and early childhood developmental period.  There were three that were found to have evidence of effectiveness:

  • Interventions that target pregnant women with substance abuse disorders
  • Prenatal and infancy visitation
  • Early childhood education

Please note that all target children are those who are considered at risk for later substance use as well as other behavioral problems.

The efficacy for these interventions range from limited evidence to very good evidence of effectiveness.

The below discussed is the content, structure, and delivery characteristics of these evidence-based prevention interventions and policy.

Interventions for Pregnant Women with Substance Abuse Disorders: Characteristics Linked to Positive Outcomes*

Interventions for pregnant women with substance abuse disorders had limited evidence of efficacy. However, in those limited studies that were reviewed, it was noted that they have positive outcomes when delivered comprehensively by trained health workers.

The content of the effective programs included pharmacological and/or psychosocial therapy that is tailored to the needs of the patient, treatment of any evident co-morbid physical and/or mental health disorders and providing parenting skills to enhance warm attachment.

These services should be provided within an integrated treatment setting.

Such interventions can be incorporated into existing treatment settings that include women.

Visitation Programs Characteristics Linked to Positive Outcomes**

Visitation programs for new mothers who have substance use or related problems reached a level of adequate evidence of efficacy when delivered with the following characteristics:

  • Use of health workers trained to deliver these services within the recommended structure with regular visits to the baby, up to two years old, first providing services and support every two weeks and then monthly.
  • In addition to providing basic parenting skills, these programs provide support for the mothers in terms of their physical and mental health, housing, food, and employment when needed.

This is the type of program that can be integrated into other existing programs for new mothers or even wellness programs for newborns or infants.

Early Childhood Education Characteristics Linked to Positive Outcomes***

Early childhood education programs that target children between 2 and 5 years who live in deprived communities are considered selective interventions.  These programs have been found to have good evidence of effectiveness and not only impact the use of marijuana in adolescence but also prevent other risky behaviors as well as support academic achievement, social inclusion, and mental health.

As you will note with all of the evidence-based prevention interventions, prevention implementers, whether teachers or counselors need training before they can deliver the intervention.

The intervention emphasizes appropriate cognitive, social, and language skills for these children and prepares them for the school setting and their roles as students as well as for academic challenges.

The interventions consist of daily sessions over extended periods of time.

Middle Childhood (6-10 Years): Evidence-Based Strategies

For this age group, three interventions and a preventive policy were found to have a fairly good indication of efficacy. Also, the three interventions targeted universal groups and one, selective or at-risk groups while the evidence-based policies to keep children in school focused primarily on at-risk children.

Parenting Skills: Characteristics****

Parenting skills programs that provide support to parents and improve their parenting styles and skills have been found to be effective for general populations of children as well as children at-risk.  The content characteristics linked to positive outcomes included:

  • Enhance family bonding and to provide parents/caregivers the skills for
  • Warm child-rearing
  • Setting rules for acceptable behavior
  • Monitoring free time and friendship patterns
  • Positive and developmentally appropriate discipline
  • Involvement in children’s learning and education
  • Becoming role models

It was also found that parenting skills programs that just provided information to parents or caregivers about drugs or that undermine parents’ authority lead to no positive outcomes or to negative outcomes.

Parenting skills programs with positive outcomes also provided multiple sessions that were interactive, involving the parents.  Again, like the other evidence-based interventions and policies discussed today, all instructors require specialized training.

Those parenting skills programs that had no impact or negative outcomes were those that focused only on the child and in which the primary form of delivery was lecturing.

It is important to note that the core of these parenting skills characteristics are also relevant to early adolescents.

Click the links below for detailed evidence-based programs to chose from;

All Rights Reserved © 2021 - Drug Addiction Free Africa Initiative