Using Demographic Data in a Primary Prevention Substance Abuse Program for Teenagers and Parents

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A grass roots group collected demographic data to plan a low-cost, community-based adolescent substance abuse program. Data on sex, age, religiosity, and school were obtained by surveying the adolescents and their parents. Information about teens' drug use, attitudes, alternative activities, and preferred helping resources was compared to parents' knowledge of and attitudes toward their childrens' drug use. Two programs were planned. The teen program emphasized peer support, drug education before age 16, the school's drug milieu, sex differences in drug attitudes and use, and the role of religious institutions in prevention. Since parents were almost totally unaware of their childrens' drug use, the parent program focused on drug information and development of communication skills with teens.

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