PREVENTION

Delaying the early onset drug misuse among youth is the secret to the best prevention plan in the world.

Stopping substance misuse problems before they start is always the best solution. It is cheaper, wiser and more compassionate to prevent bad behavior than it is to correct it. No matter how you say it, primary prevention offers the best return on investment and is the key to Bright Futures.

Addiction in America is viewed as a problem of individuals, and this solution tends to provide better information or consequences to keep individuals from offending. Taking a public health approach, the Bright Futures coalition of Barbour County is adopting population-wide environmental solutions that offer the best possibility of large-scale substance misuse reduction, especially among the most vulnerable youth in our county.

In response to the national campaign against opioid addiction, Bright Futures Barbour County has developed a coalition of like-minded county organizations and individuals working together for a substance misuse-free Barbour County.

ICELANDIC PREVENTION MODEL (IP)

Icelandic Prevention Model

ONE

Apply a primary prevention approach that is designed to enhance the social environment.

Icelandic Prevention Model

TWO

Emphasize community action and embrace public schools as the natural hub of neighborhood/area efforts to support children and adolescent health, learning, and life success.

Icelandic Prevention Model

THREE

Engage and empower community members to make practical decisions using local, high
quality, accessible data and diagnostics.

Icelandic Prevention Model

FOUR

Integrate researchers, policymakers, practitioners, and community members into a unified
team dedicated to solving complex, real-world problems.

Icelandic Prevention Model

FIVE

Match the scope of the solution to the extent of the problem, including emphasizing long
term intervention and efforts to marshal adequate community resources.

Preventing alcohol, tobacco and other harmful drug use among youth remains an ongoing challenge, especially in many advanced economies of the world. From a public health perspective, the most sensible approach to prevention is to avert or delay the onset of alcohol, tobacco, and other drug use as long as possible. Early drug use impairs psychosocial and neurocognitive development and increases youth vulnerability to later use of licit and illicit substances, academic failure, high-risk sexual behavior and mental health problems and is strongly predictive of later dependence.

MODEL DEVELOPMENT

Since its formulation, IPM has been grounded in classic theories of social deviance that were developed in sociology and criminology, rather than based on traditional health behavior change theories. The mutual viewpoint of these deviance theories is that most individuals are capable of deviant acts but that only under certain environmental and social circumstances will those acts become common patterns of behaviors among dominant groups of adolescents. Major reasons for such behavioral patterns thus include a:

ONE

Lack of environmental sanctions by the social environment (e.g., from parents and other
adults)

TWO

Low individual and/or community investment in traditional and positive values (e.g., high
educational aspirations)

THREE

Lack of opportunities for participation in positive and prosocial development (e.g., organized recreational and extracurricular activities such as sports, music, drama and after-school clubs)

Thus, from this theoretical perspective, children are viewed as social products and not as rational individual actors, and hence, alcohol, tobacco, and other drug use is viewed as attributes of the social environment and engrained in both risk and protective factors that comprise key determinants of the ongoing cycle of substance use. Echoed by this theoretical view, the goal of the approach from the outset was to “mobilize society as a whole in the struggle against drugs,” with an emphasis on community engagement and collaboration leading to long-standing and gradual environmental and social change rather than short-term solutions. Rooted in research evidence from the social and behavioral sciences, the preventive cornerstone of the approach was to strengthen protective factors and mitigate risk factors at the local community level within each of the domains of parents and family, the peer group, the school environment and leisure time outside of school.

BRIGHT FUTURES PREVENTION MODEL

Primary prevention focuses on individuals who have not initiated substance misuse. According to the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids, 90% of all people struggling with addiction, started misusing substances during their developmental adolescent years; there is a direct connection globally to the early use of substances and addiction rates of adults. Focus Groups and community-based investigation reveal that the greatest vulnerability for the community’s youth is during summer months, after school, during weekends and other unstructured times.

Unfortunately, in Barbour County, there is not active staffing nor well-funded programming targeted at youth in the county and the absence of positive well-organized and supervised youth activities at the community level is viewed as a major gap in the struggle against substance abuse in Barbour County. Our plan is focused on five key interventions:

Bright Futures Prevention Model

ONE

Support parents and schools working together against substance misuse.

Bright Futures Prevention Model

TWO

Increase the protective factors and lower the risk factors in the Barbour County.

Bright Futures Prevention Model

THREE

Reshape what is socially acceptable concerning substance misuse.

Bright Futures Prevention Model

FOUR

Build capacity for free-time activities for youth.

Bright Futures Prevention Model

FIVE

Improve access to Prevention, Treatment, and Recovery services.

Long-term planning is taking place to ensure the annual gathering of substance use data across Barbour County and to build the capacity of communities within the county to use the data to work on prevention reduction strategies year to year. By charting progress, the coalition hopes to set in motion a process that will provide the community with the necessary tools to promote prevention.

Barbour County Youth free time activities groups include:

Kidreach
Appalachia
.

Barbour
County Young
Life

Barbour
County
4-H

Drags
Not
Drugs

Philippi and Belington Youth Soccer

Philippi and
Belington Youth Basketball

Philippi
Youth
Baseball

Barbour
County Boy
Scouts

Barbour
County
Girl Scouts