Community Drug Education

Our Programs: Founded on Lessons Learned

When the D.A.R.E prevention education program was de-funded by the federal government, communities were left with very limited drug education opportunities. Many communities lack any amount of drug prevention programming and leave it up to textbook-style learning to make an impact. Instead of enhancing D.A.R.E. for more impact and long-term penetration, it was removed completely from community platforms. For the past 10 years students across all grade levels are not receiving the appropriate level of drug/addiction/mental health, social-emotional skills building, risk-taking reduction and general compassion enhancing education that they deserve. This begins with the way we think about, talk about and deal with drugs and addiction in our lives.

Addiction is a medical disease. Science explains the reasons some people become addicted to drugs; a person’s character does not. The thriving yet outdated and erroneous model looks like this: “Drugs are considered bad, which means that the people who do drugs are bad, which means that they don’t deserve to have their illness treated.” The black and white approach is far too narrow, and we are way behind the curve in terms of handling this.

All of our presentations combine:

  • Interactive social emotional learning
  • Current, honest and realistic information about the human relationship with drugs at any age.
  • Powerful testimonies from individual who have been personally touched by drugs, addiction and other mental health issues
  • Annual Education Program
    • Low cost of $10 per family (student and guardians); $2 per staff member
    • Customized programming for each school’s demographics and concerns.
    • Catered to middle and junior high school students, parents and staff.
      • Staff are trained in assessing student behaviors for signs of various issues, addiction as a brain disease, drug use origins, and overdose prevention and harm reduction training.
        • Naloxone is provided free of charge.
      • Students are engaged in our own “presentation-conversation” style four times per school year covering a variety of topics each session
      • Parents are engaged in our own “presentation-conversation” style eight times per year covering a variety of topics each session.
  • Assembly or In-Class Education Days
    • Low cost of $3.50 per student per education day
    • Customized programming catered to your school’s demographics and presenting concerns.
    • Catered to middle and junior high school students.
  • School Staff Education Days
    • Low cost of $2 per staff member per day
    • Staff are trained in assessing student behaviors for signs of various issues, addiction as a brain disease, drug use origins, and overdose prevention and harm reduction training.
      • Naloxone is provided free of charge.

What they students are saying after viewing our presentation…

  • “They made me think about drugs and stay away from them in the future.”
  • “Not talking about drugs doesn’t help; we need to education and that is more preventative.”
  • “I will take steps to help friends struggling with or wanting to try drugs.”
  • “It can happen to anyone.”
  • “I like that they provided information on the effects of using drugs on family rather than just saying ‘drugs are bad, so don’t use them.’”
  • “It gave me a new perspective on how drugs affect someone and how fast they go from weed to heroin.”
  • “How hard recovery is because I’ve been through that.”
  • “Addiction affects the whole family. The dad sharing his story was very powerful.”
  • “These are normal people who lived right near us.”
  • “The fact that you could swear on your life that you won’t use drugs but in two years you can be addicted.”
  • “It helped me to understand addicts better.”
  • “To be prepared for what might happen if someone uses and how to help/speak up.”
  • “I learned that relapse can occur more than once and that anyone, no matter who you are, can get addicted to drugs.”
  • “Thank you for taking your time to talk to us, it was very helpful and helped us get a more serious understanding of the real dangers of drugs.”
  • “I wish there was more time for questions.”
  • “I was most affected by the story about the brother who died and went to SHS.”
  • “Drugs affect a wide variety of people, not just the user.”
  • “It helped me to be able to talk to others around me, and made me stay away from drugs even more.”
  • “I wish they could have more time to speak.”
  • “This has helped me to help my friend who is doing drugs.”
  • “I liked having an actual user from our community.”
  • “It was easy to connect with because they went to our school.”
  • “Never get started.”
  • “It did not take a lot of heroin for someone to overdose and die.”
  • “The speakers really made an impact on me.”
  • “I thought about if that was happening to my family and what that would do to us.”
  • “Drug addiction starts out as a choice but then it’s harder to quit when you need it to function.”

What the Data Tells Us

Statistics from “An Assessment of Behavioral Health Needs, Service Capacities, and Projected Trends in Northern Lake County” released in July 2014:

  • Persons 15-24 years old are 14 percent of the population but 30 percent of emergency visits and 42 percent of suicide and self-inflicted injury.
  • Persons in the 18-25 age group are far and away the ones with the most behavioral health issues. Those aged 12-17 face issues not only with alcohol and tobacco, but also with marijuana, heroin and other drugs.
  • One in eight 12-17 year olds has used a tobacco product in the past month and one in ten 12-17 years olds has engaged in binge drinking in the past month.

These statistics equate to the fear every parent has: that their children are at great risk. These statistics are also a reflection of societal norms, genetic predispositions and environmental pressures. This may also be a sign that what we are currently providing in terms of access to and accessibility of care, and awareness and understanding of mental health, drugs and addiction is of great lacking.

If the 15-24 age group is the most impacted group, clearly more can be done to provide preventive and supportive measures. While the parental unit is critical to providing this type of sustenance, most parents of teens are not aware of the severity of drug availability, comorbid linkages to addiction, nor do they have the appropriate knowledge or resources to utilize. The school system is by far the most impactful on student topic retaining and influence, referral and care assistance, and contained interaction. With a commitment to educating the community’s parents in addition to the students, a benefit is provided to the entire family, which opens up a world of conversation at the dinner table or in the car on the way to hockey practice. Arming parents with facts is just as, if not more, important as arming their teens. When both are aware of common mental health issues and risks, the stigma is removed, leaving an open invitation for appropriate intervention should issues arise.

Lake County State’s Attorney Michael G. Nerheim calls this the “opioid epidemic” and has declared his commitment to putting an end to needless, preventable overdose deaths through the Lake County Opioid Initiative. A primary focus of that project is on effective, strategic drug and mental health education that can be accessed by all demographics. Live4Lali is proud to be a co-developer of the Lake County Opioid Initiative and education entity for the community. Our focus fits the need for this lacking of education.

We understand the research on addiction science just as we do on social science. We understand how teens and their parents learn. We understand what is ineffective versus successful. We understand because we have done it, evaluated it and continue our exploration as inevitable change ensues.

*Please note that our program is customized based on each community we enter, and is subject to change based upon the needs and capacities shown on a case-by-case basis.

To learn more about our education programs, or to discover how this can be implemented at your school or in your community, fill out the form and a member of our education team will connect with you.

 

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