Keeping Kids Off Drugs: Alternatives to Waging War
1. Invest in drug prevention programs that have been proven to work. A study conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and the Department of Health and Human Services reviewed 127 alternative activity programs for reducing youth drug use. It concluded that "alternative programming appears to be the most effective among those youth at greatest risk for substance abuse and related problems."
2. An independent study by Public-Private Partnerships evaluated Big Brother/Big Sister programs and found participants to be 46% less likely to start using illegal drugs and 27% less likely to start using alcohol.
3. Keep families together. Rather than imprison non-violent drug offending parents, provide these individuals with drug treatment or other needed rehabilitation programs which do not separate children from nurturing parents. This is a better solution for the parent, the children and society as a whole.
Keep kids in school and make educational opportunities more available. From 1987 to 1995, state spending on higher education decreased by 18.2%, while spending on corrections increased by 30%.
4. Throughout the 1990s, college tuition "continues to rise faster than inflation."
5. Provide drug treatment on request. Treatment is 10 times more cost effective than interdiction in reducing the use of drugs.
6. A study by the RAND Corporation found that domestic law enforcement efforts cost 15 times as much as treatment to achieve the same reduction in societal costs.
7. Treatment is currently under-funded. A recent study by researchers at Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has indicated that 48% of the need for drug treatment, not including alcohol abuse, is unmet in the United States.
1. Carmona, Maria and Kathryn Stewart. (1996). "A Review of Alternative Activities and Alternatives Programs in Youth-Oriented Prevention" CSAP Technical Report No. 13. Washington, DC: Center for Substance Abuse Prevention/ Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration/ Department of Health and Human Services.
2. Tierney, Joseph P., Jean Baldwin Grossman, and Nancy L. Resch. (1995 November). Making a Difference: An Impact Study of Big Brothers/Big Sisters. P. 49. Philadelphia, PA: Public/Private Ventures.
3. NASBO. (1996 April). 1995 State Expenditures Report. Washington, DC (As reported by the Justice Policy Institute. From Classrooms to Cellblocks" A National Perspective. (1997). Washington, DC: Justice Policy Institute.)
4. Ambrosio, Tara-Jen and Vincent Schiraldi. (1997 February). From Classrooms to Cellblocks: A National Perspective. Washington, DC: Justice Policy Institute.
5. Rydell, C.P. & Everingham, S.S. (1994). Controlling Cocaine. Prepared for the Office of National Drug Control Policy and the United States Army. Santa Monica, CA: Drug Policy Research Center, RAND.
6. Rydell, C.P. & Everingham, S.S. (1994). Controlling Cocaine. Prepared for the Office of National Drug Control Policy and the United States Army. Santa Monica, CA: Drug Policy Research Center, RAND.
7. Woodward, A., J. Epstein, J. Gfroerer, D. Melnick, R. Thoreson, and D. Wilson. (1997). "The Drug Abuse Treatment Gap: Recent Estimates," Health Care Financing Review, 18: 5-17.
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