One age group that seems particularly susceptible to drug use are middle school children. This is often the time when curiosity and experimentation take place, and a key point of early intervention if drug use is to be avoided. In an effort to make a large impact on this at-risk population, experts in the field came together to develop a program called, PROSPER. PROSPER (PROmoting School-community-university Partnerships to Enhance Resilience). And a recent study shows that this type of programming is proving successful in deterring children from using harmful substances that could lead to addiction later on in life.
“Prevention programs like PROSPER can help delay the experimentation with substances at an early age. And, now, with this latest research, we see more positive outcomes for these kids as they enter adulthood, which hopefully will carry over into more positive long-term outcomes in terms of parenting and career success,” said Janet Welsh, coordinator for the Pennsylvania PROSPER team. The idea behind PROSPER is that community and family interventions among younger people can intercept a child before drugs really become a problem. This is often done by connecting schools and communities with trained PROSPER interventionist teams that can help mediate situations.
And, according to the study, this is working. Research shows that there has been a 41% decrease in lifetime use of methamphetamine among 19-year-olds, 30% reduction of marijuana and cocaine use, and a 20% decrease in prescription painkiller use.
Additionally, the researchers were able to see conclude that the earlier a child gets involved with PROSPER, the more likely they are to maintain a life free from illicit substances. This is also the case with drug use – the earlier a child uses drugs, the more likely they are to develop an addiction as they age. With the success of the this program, it is likely that communities all over the country will look to adopt this methodology, which focuses on communities coming together with families to protect youth against the dangers of drug addiction.