Drug and Alcohol Abuse Prevention (Family-based)

Family-based drug and alcohol prevention programs are programs that seek to prevent and reduce the use of drugs and alcohol among children and youth. They are different from school-based prevention programs in that they focus on family risk factors and involve parents and guardians as much as (if not more than) the youth themselves. Several family-based prevention programs have been found to be effective (Foxcroft, & Tsertsvadze, 2011). 

Effective family-based drug and alcohol prevention approaches include:

  • Teaching parents how to set clear expectations and rules against the use of drugs and alcohol, reinforce positive behavior, engage in effective family management practices, and nurture a close and caring relationship with their children (Winters, 2007). 
  • Using active and varied teaching methods and offer families opportunities to practice new skills in role plays and in activities with their children (Small & Huser, in press).
  • Using program staff, teaching strategies, and materials that are sensitive and relevant to the culture, race/ethnicity, language, income-level, family structure, and race/ethnicity of the participants is critically important (Castro, et al, 2006; St. Pierre, 1998). Ignoring participant characteristics by using a one-size-fits-all approach to service delivery is likely to result in a mismatch between the program and the participants that is likely to result in lower levels of participant engagement, satisfaction, and knowledge/skill acquisition.

Questions your program should answer:


Sources Cited

Foxcroft, D.R., & Tsertsvadze, A. (2011). Universal family-based prevention programs for alcohol misuse in young people. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews Reviews, 9, Chichester, UK: John Wiley Sons Ltd. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD009308

Small, S.A., & Huser, M. (in press). Family-based prevention programs.  Encyclopedia of Adolescence (22 pages). New York: Springer. doi:10.1111/j.1741-3729.2008.00530.x

St. Pierre, T. L. (1998). Involving parents of high-risk youth in drug prevention. Madison, WI: School of Human Ecology: UW-Madison.

Winters, K.C., Fawkes, T., Fahnhorst, T., Botzet, A., & August, G. (2007). A synthesis review of exemplary drug abuse prevention programs in the United States. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 32, 371-380. doi:10.1016/j.jsat.2006.10.002