U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

Prevention Through Empowerment in a Native American Community

NCJ Number
Drugs & Society Volume: 12 Issue: 1/2 Dated: (1998) Pages: 147-162
E L Petoskey; K R Van Stelle; J A De Jong
Date Published
16 pages
This demonstration grant program in Wisconsin combined several complementary strategies to prevent drug and alcohol abuse among Native Americans: school-based cultural curriculum, teacher training, development of a leadership core group, and community curriculum.
The program was specifically designed to address self- perceptions of personal and communal powerlessness among Native Americans since this places them at risk for drug and alcohol abuse. A student survey was used to examine substance use, school bonding, and the relation between cultural affiliation and substance use by the youth population. The program model was developmental, nurturing a gradual growth of personal and communal strengths. Attention to details as minute as arranging the seating at training sessions to minimize conflict was helpful. Intimate insider knowledge of relationships and informal power structures in the community was used to avoid derailment of the process. Actions developed by the community represented creative and effective ways of bringing things into harmony. An evaluation of the program using cross-sectional sampling to document substance use across age groups showed 30-day alcohol use among high school students was somewhat higher than the national average. Both marijuana use and cigarette use, however, were about four times the national average. Native American students encountered more difficulties in the school environment than non-Native American students. Fewer students who received the curriculum reported alcohol use in the past month than students in a comparison group. At the community level, there was evidence of increased social bonding. Because a key concern identified by the community was strained relations with the school system, activities were implemented to change this situation. 7 references, 1 table, and 3 figures