Using Social Norms Interventions For Reducing Adolescent Substance Abuse

2048 Words Nov 30th, 2016 9 Pages
Substance use and abuse is considered a non-communicable disease; non-communicable diseases can be more difficult to treat than a communicable disease, but treatments do not have to be expensive. There are many cost effective interventions that can be implemented to treat and help prevent substance abuse. Cost effectiveness is defined in Public Health 101 (2015) as “a concept that combines issues of benefits and harms with issues of financial costs” (Riegelman & Kirkwood, p. 127). Three cost effective preventive measures are discussed in the following document. Firstly, adolescents are extremely sensitive to their peers and social norms; if a peer is using drugs, their friends will likely begin to experiment as well; if their peers believe drugs and alcohol are dangerous, an adolescent may think twice before trying a harmful substance. Using social norms interventions can be a beneficial and cost-effective strategy for reducing adolescent substance abuse. Secondly, families and school systems should work together with programs like Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) to teach children early on about the risks of substance abuse. Finally, parents and guardians should be able to recognize when an adolescent may need to seek help and know what to do when that happens.

Substance abuse among adolescents is a growing concern in the United States. “Half of all new drug users are under the age of 18” (Teen drug use) and 58.2 percent of middle and high schoolers have reported…

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