SCOPE Synopsis, June 2012 #5

National Drug Control Strategy 2012

Focusing on “Chapter 1: Strengthen Efforts to Prevent Drug Use in Our Communities” allows us to focus on drug prevention’s ability to save lives and cut long-term costs. A citation states “that each dollar invested in an evidence-based prevention program can reduce costs related to substance use disorders by an average of $18.” A decline in the perceived risk of drug use could be attributed to decreased exposure of youth to prevention messages and the co-occurrence of messages and policies that undercut the consequences of drug use.

Goals of the current federal administration include: collaborating with states to support communities, focusing on workplace prevention, strengthening the Drug Free Communities Support Program, revamping and reenergizing the National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign, mobilizing parents, attention to college campuses, reporting on the health risks of youth substance abuse, informing law enforcement of effective prevention strategies, enabling law enforcement to participate in community prevention programs, and strengthening prevention efforts along the southwest border.


The Bully-Sexual Violence Pathway in Early Adolescence

The National Center for Injury Prevention and Control’s Division of Violence Prevention has completed two waves of study showing “that bullying perpetration and homophobic teasing were significant predictors of sexual harassment perpetration over time.” Bullies’ needs for control and dominance transfers to increasingly escalating forms of aggression. Name-calling and rumor spreading have been associated with homophobic teasing, potentially leading to climates where adolescents make fun of gender non-conforming behaviors. Increased interaction with opposite-sex peers in adolescence creates environments ripe for bullying and/or harassment.

Bullying and homophobic teasing may escalate, if not interrupted. Modifications to existing or planned bullying prevention programs should address homophobic teasing and sexual harassment. Prohibition of such behaviors should be built into rules guiding behavior and adults can reference such policies if witnessing examples. This can help develop accountability and empathy in adolescents. Modeling respect in the classroom and intervening when necessary teaches that negative behaviors are unacceptable.

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