Professor receives funding to prevent youth drug abuse

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National Health Promotion Associates recently provided $156,581 to fund a project by George Mason University Professor Dr. Kenneth W. Griffin aimed at preventing prescription drug use among high school students.

The funding is part of a larger $1.7 million National Institutes of Health National Institute on Drug Abuse multiyear grant.

Griffin and colleagues will develop and evaluate a prescription drug-abuse prevention program. The program will have a randomized control trial in up to 40 high schools nationwide.

“Unlike many programs, our approach does not focus primarily on the dangers of substance abuse, but attempts to address a common set of risk and protective factors through skills training in social and self-management capacities, like assertiveness, communication, and relaxation techniques,” Griffin said. “This could help students resist prescription drug abuse while also building resiliency skills that can have positive impacts throughout many facets of their lives.”

The program will include both online and classroom sessions. It will promote pro-health attitudes, norms, and behaviors. The program also will work to build social, self-regulation, and relationship skills.

Teachers will deliver the prevention program.

When the program is completed, researchers will follow up with students for two years to evaluate the program’s success.

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