Drug Prevention Takes a New Tact

May 21, 2002

A survey reveals that the nation’s most prominent anti-drug campaign has been
largely ineffective, reports The Wall Street Journal. Despite five years
of one billion dollars in television advertising with celebrities including
the Dixie Chicks and Mary J. Blige, teenage drug use statistics remain alarmingly
high. Fifty-four percent of kids have tried an illicit drug before they leave
high school, up from a low of 41 percent in 1992 and about the same as the pot-smoking
highs of 1975.

However, a growing body of scientific research is beginning to identify several basic principles proven to keep kids off drugs. Surprisingly, the best anti-drug efforts spend relatively little time talking about drugs. They focus on helping kids cope with the stress of daily life. Only about a quarter of LifeSkills Training course, a drug-prevention program used in about 7,500 classrooms nationwide, focuses directly on drug use. One study found that the rigorously tested curriculum developed by Cornell University reduced teen use of cigarettes, alcohol and marijuana by 66 percent.

Moderator Comment: Is drug use a problem in retail
organizations? How should companies deal (or not) with employees believed to
have substance abuse problems?

Zero tolerance policies have drawbacks. Still, how much
tolerance can any employer afford to have? [George
Anderson – Moderator

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