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Prevention of Substance Abuse among High Risk Rural Youth, Final Report

NCJ Number
F L Jackson; T Zahler; A LaVoie
Date Published
138 pages
This report describes and evaluates a comprehensive program model for the prevention of substance abuse among high-risk rural youth.
The target population was 293 high-risk youths between the ages of 12 and 19 years living in three rural counties of north central West Virginia. Although the program primarily targeted individual high-risk youth, some interventions were designed to impact the family and the community. Individual interventions involved counseling, drug prevention education, social skills development, peer-support groups, transportation, general health services, and case management. Interventions for the family focused on parent training, parent open houses, and telephone contacts. School interventions included academic tutoring, peer training, the training of school personnel, and in-school crises intervention. Community interventions consisted of public awareness campaigns, the training of professionals, the training of natural helpers, and a telephone "warm-line." Unique features of the program were aggressive outreach strategies; methods for adolescent drug risk assessment; and the identification of risk and resiliency factors among high-risk, rural, white adolescents. Evaluation findings show that the program resulted in a significant decrease in tobacco use, the development of strategies for predicting substance use in rural youth, drug abstinence over a 3-year period for a significant number of the study group, and a positive impact on ego strength and psycho-social adjustment. 19 tables, 11 figures, and appended data instruments