Another success story: Italy adapts Botvin LifeSkills Training | Prevention Hub

June 19, 2014

One of the most widely used school-based prevention programmes has proven to be effective in reducing drug use among adolescents in yet another country. After a team of researchers translated the programme known as Botvin LifeSkills Training into Italian, it was launched in around 180 schools in Lombardy, a region of Northern Italy. Within those schools the programme reached approximately 30,000 students and involved 1,800 teachers. The programme was found to reduce teenage smoking rates by 40% while boosting students’ self-esteem and equipping them with the relevant skills to deal with stressful situations. Following the success of the programme in Northern Italy, the Regional Observatory on Drug Addiction of Lombardy would like to see the programme implemented in schools across the country.

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via Another success story: Italy adapts Botvin LifeSkills Training | Prevention Hub.


Students in Italy Learn Valuable Life Skills from America’s Top Prevention Program

May 16, 2014

WHITE PLAINS, NY – Countries around the world continue to grapple with the problem of teenage drug abuse. In their search for effective prevention programs, more and more countries are turning to programs proven to work in America. Such is the case in Italy, where health professionals and educators have turned to the Botvin LifeSkills Training (LST) program, extensively tested and widely regarded as America’s top prevention program for children and adolescents.

Pictured left to right: Dr. Kenneth Griffin, Dr. Christopher Williams, Dr. Veronica Velasco, Dr. Gilbert J. BotvinIn the Mediterranean culture, young people start drinking at a much earlier age than in other regions. A recent survey showed that drinking and drug use in Italy increases between ages 13 and 15 years old. To combat that, researchers in Italy have adapted, translated and implemented the LST program first in Milan and more recently in schools throughout the Lombardy region of Italy. Through the LST program, students not only learn how to resist pressures to smoke cigarettes, drink alcohol, and use illicit drugs. They also learn important life skills such as problem-solving, how to manage stress and anxiety, and how to communicate clearly. The combination of drug resistance skills and life skills has proven to be a powerful formula for preventing drug use. Studies in the US show that LST can cut rates of drug use in half, and in some cases by as much as 80% compared to teens not receiving LST.   

The Regional Observatory on Drug Addiction (OReD) of Lombardy, Italy, is spearheading this project. Ultimately, they hope to see that all students in the country receive the LST program. The OReD of Lombardy, under the auspices of Eupolis Lombardia and in association with the Regional Network on Addiction Prevention, supports different prevention programs throughout the schools in its region.

Dr. Veronica Velasco, a psychologist and researcher at ORed, is the manager of the LST project in Lombardy under the direction of Mr. Corrado Celata. She recently met with LST developer, Dr. Gilbert J. Botvin, and reported on the adaptation of the program and its dissemination in Italy.  

We chose LST because it was clearly the highest quality program available,” said Dr. Velasco.  “It was also very important to us that LST is evidence-based, and fits all 16 NIDA (National Institute on Drug Abuse) principles of prevention.”

“We are thrilled that more than 1,600 teachers and 20,000 students are participating in one of the first region-wide health projects ever delivered in Italy,” said Dr. Gilbert J. Botvin, program developer and professor emeritus at Cornell University’s Weill Medical College. “Dr. Velasco is leading a highly dedicated team of health professionals and educators in the implementation of LST in Italy, and we are delighted to hear of its success there.”

The project started in Milan, the capital of the Lombardy region, and then expanded to the rest of Lombardy. Lombardy is a very densely populated area (10 million people) with 15 health communities and 150 schools. Dr. Velasco and Dr. Botvin will present the details of this project at the annual meeting of the Society for Prevention Research on May 30, 2014 in Washington DC.

via LifeSkills Training: Press Releases.


Botvin LifeSkills Training: Prevention Newsletter

May 7, 2014

Our 2014 Spring Newsletter is now online. Check it out to learn more about prevention tips, funding, training.

via Botvin LifeSkills Training: Prevention Newsletter.


Botvin LifeSkills Training Program Featured at International Conference

April 29, 2014

WHITE PLAINS, NY – Botvin LifeSkills Training, a top-rated prevention program proven to reduce substance abuse and violence, was featured at the 2014 Blueprints Conference for Healthy Youth Development. The conference, held in Denver, Colorado, featured LifeSkills Training (LST) and other prevention programs identified as effective by a national panel of prevention experts. Dr. Botvin’s presentation described the LST program and summarized the scientific evidence proving its effectiveness. The session also focused on practical strategies for promoting the adopting and successful implementation of evidence-based prevention programs such as LST. Joining Dr. Botvin were Alayne MacArthur and Pamela Werb, two senior LST trainers who have extensive teaching, training, and curriculum development experience.  In addition, LST was featured in a well-attended all-day pre-conference workshop session. Attendees participated in an interactive, peer-based training experience covering important topics related to the successful implementation and sustainability of the LST program with an emphasis on strategies for enhancing planning, implementation, student engagement and long-term use of LST. 

The goal of the international Blueprints Conference is to motivate the violence and drug prevention field to adopt evidence-based programs and provide support, guidance, and tools to help practitioners implement these programs successfully in their own communities. More than 500 people attended, including professionals working in the areas of juvenile justice, violence, and drug abuse prevention for youth. The Blueprints Conference is part of a larger initiative to identify and promote the use of prevention programs proven effective through rigorous evaluation research.

“The Blueprints initiative has a tremendous impact on all prevention because it gives decision-makers the tools necessary to identify the most effective programs,” said invited speaker Dr. Gilbert J. Botvin, an internationally known prevention expert and developer of the LifeSkills Training (LST) substance abuse and violence prevention program. “In order to improve the quality of health in America and reduce future health costs, it is vitally important that those responsible for selecting and adopting programs have access to information about the most effective and scientifically proven prevention programs and policies.”

LifeSkills Training is a model prevention program identified by Blueprints for Violence Prevention, the national violence prevention initiative. Established in 1996 by Professor Del Elliott from the Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence (CSPV) at the University of Colorado at Boulder, Blueprints for Violence Prevention monitors the effectiveness of prevention, early intervention, and treatment programs in reducing adolescent violent crime, aggression, delinquency, and substance abuse. More recently, this initiative has been expanded to focus more broadly on healthy youth development.

via LifeSkills Training: Press Releases.


Every Dollar Spent on Prevention Can Save up to $50 | Prevention Hub

April 17, 2014

A recent study by the Washington State Institute for Public Policy investigates the effectiveness of drug abuse and violence prevention programmes. Among the programmes the Botvin LifeSkills Training, which is used in 37 countries around the world, yielded the most promising results, saving $50 for every dollar spent. The school-based model proves that prevention programmes do not only provide enormous health benefits to young people, but also economic advantages for the communities they live in. Mentor USA uses the programme as part of their school-based prevention strategy.

Botvin LifeSkills Training equips students aged 5 to 18 with the relevant skills to deal with stressful situations and helps boost their self-esteem. By engaging with the programme, students learn about the negative consequences of substance abuse and become familiar with healthy alternatives.

via Every Dollar Spent on Prevention Can Save up to $50 | Prevention Hub.


Three Ohio Agencies Win Drug Prevention Grants

April 11, 2014

NEW PHILADELPHIA  Agencies in three area counties have received grants from the state to strengthen school-based alcohol and drug prevention programs.

The Building Youth Resiliency grants are a part of Start Talking!, Ohio’s new youth drug prevention initiative. The program is a partnership between the Office of the First Lady, the Governor’s Office of Faith-Base Initiatives and the departments of Aging, Job and Family Services and Mental Health and Addiction Services and targets at-risk students in grades five through nine.

In Tuscarawas County, Personal and Family Counseling Services is receiving a grant of $12,875 to provide the Botvin LifeSkills Training Program to 190 fifth- and sixth-grade students in Newcomerstown Exempted Village Schools and Conotton Valley Union Local Schools.

The program will begin in the 2014-15 school year.

Jodi Salvo, coordinator of the Taking It to the Schools program, said Botvin is the leading school-based prevention education program used in the U.S.

Facilitators from Personal and Family Counseling meet with students once a week for eight weeks. Each week, they discuss a different topic, such as self-esteem and assertiveness.

On the eighth week, parents or caregivers are invited to come to the school for a graduation ceremony, she said. “It gives us the opportunity to show the parents what we discussed.”

via LifeSkills Training: News Detail.


New Report Highlights the Economic Power of Prevention: LifeSkills Training Program Saves $50 for Every $1 Spent

April 10, 2014
Investing in prevention makes great economic sense, according to a new study. The report, part of a series of economic studies conducted by the Washington State Institute for Public Policy (WSIPP), determined that communities will reap substantial savings by using effective drug abuse and violence prevention programs. Among the most dramatic findings were those for a drug abuse and violence prevention program called Botvin LifeSkills Training (LST). Researchers found that the LST program produced a $50 benefit for every $1 invested–yielding the highest return on investment of any substance abuse prevention curriculum studied.

“We know that effective prevention programs can produce a powerful public health benefit by helping teens avoid the damaging effects of tobacco, alcohol, illicit drug abuse, and violence. This updated report proves that it has the added benefit of also making good economic sense,” said Dr. Gilbert J. Botvin, professor emeritus at Cornell University’s Weill Medical College and developer of the LST program. “A relatively small upfront investment in a proven prevention program such as LST can yield tremendous health and economic benefits in terms of both the positive health effects it provides students and the potential cost savings for communities and the larger society.”

Tobacco, alcohol, and illicit drug abuse cost the United States over $500 billion a year. Therefore, the nationwide use of prevention programs that have been tested and proven effective offer considerable economic benefits at a time when health costs are spiraling higher each year. Unfortunately, surveys show that most schools are not using programs proven to work. And just as programs vary in effectiveness, they also vary in their costs, economic benefits, and potential return on investment.  Encouraging the use of tested and effective prevention programs shown to produce a high return on investment can produce substantial savings and help cut health costs throughout the country.

Washington State Institute for Public Policy provided the results of new analyses in their most recent report entitled “Return on Investment: Evidence-Based Options to Improve Statewide Outcomes.” The report, similar to an investment advisor’s “buy-sell” list, contains current recommendations on policy options that can give taxpayers a good return on their investment (“buys”), as well as those that apparently cannot (“sells”). Investing in LST represents a 50-to-1 return to communities in terms of reduced corrections costs, welfare and social services burdens, drug and mental health treatment, and increased employment and tax revenue. This 50-to-1 return is an increase over the last report in April 2012 of a 38-to-1 return.

About Botvin LifeSkills Training

Botvin LifeSkills Training (LST) is an evidence-based substance abuse and violence prevention program used in schools and communities throughout the U.S. and in 36 countries around the world. LST has been extensively tested and proven to reduce tobacco, alcohol, and illicit drug use by as much as 80%. It is effective when implemented using different delivery formats, when taught by different providers, and when delivered to different populations. It works with elementary school, middle school, and high school students. Long-term follow-up studies also show that it produces prevention effects that are durable and long-lasting. For more information call 800-293-4969 or visit www.lifeskillstraining.com.

Contact:

Paulina Kalaj

800-293-4969

pkalaj@nhpamail.com

via LifeSkills Training: Press Releases.


Coshocton Behavioral Health Awarded Grant to Teach LST

April 9, 2014

Ohio’s putting its money — $1.5 million across 19 counties — where its mouth is for the Start Talking! campaign, which encourages children to avoid drugs by overcoming peer pressure and stresses that often lead to addiction.

Coshocton Behavioral Health Choices will receive $62,256 to teach students in fifth through ninth grades at Coshocton City, Ridgewood Local and River View Local schools how to reduce the risks of alcohol and drug abuse, according to a Monday Start Talking!

The program, called Life­Skills Training, addresses the social and psychological factors that can lead to substance abuse. Parents also will receive information twice monthly about how they can help keep their children drug free.

via LifeSkills Training: News Detail.


Ohio Grants Target Anti-Drug Programs For Kids

April 8, 2014

A Licking County agency will receive $62,448 to provide the LifeSkills Training program to all 9th-grade students in Newark City Schools. Pathways of Central Ohio will also deliver the evidenced-based curriculum to students in six other Licking County schools.

Kristin McCloud, executive director of Pathways of Central Ohio says the curriculum focuses on relationships and self-esteem.

via LifeSkills Training: News Detail.


ASCD and HHS/CDC Announce Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child Model

April 2, 2014

ASCD, a global community dedicated to excellence in learning, teaching, and leading, announced today the new Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child (WSCC) model that is recommended as a strategy for improving students’ health and learning in our schools. Developed by ASCD and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in collaboration with key leaders from education, public health, and school health fields, the new model combines and builds on elements of the traditional coordinated school health approach and the whole child framework to strengthen a unified and collaborative approach to learning and health.

A whole child approach, which ensures that each student is healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged, sets the standard for comprehensive, sustainable school improvement and provides for long-term student success. The new WSCC model responds to the call for greater alignment, integration, and collaboration between education and health to improve each child’s cognitive, physical, social, and emotional development.

The model incorporates the components of an effective school health program and the tenets of the whole child approach to education to address the symbiotic relationship between learning and health. In doing so, the model continues the focus of the traditional coordinated school health approach but aligns it with the structure, framework, and objectives of education. This is showcased by the expanded components focusing additional attention on the social and emotional climate of the school and classroom environments and the pivotal role that community involvement plays in the growth and development of our youth.

The Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child model focuses its attention on the child, emphasizing a schoolwide approach and acknowledging learning, health, and the school as being a part and reflection of the local community. Because they have contact with 95 percent of U.S. children ages 5–17, schools are the primary institution responsible for childhood development, after the family. It is essential that schools have an effective and comprehensive school health model in place during these critical years of social, psychological, physical, and intellectual development.

Whereas the traditional coordinated school health model contained eight components, the WSCC contains 10, expanding Health and Safe School Environment and Family/Community Involvement into four distinct components:

-Social and Emotional Climate

-Physical Environment

-Family Engagement

-Community Involvement

This change marks the need for greater emphasis on both the psychosocial and physical environment as well as the ever-increasing roles that community agencies and families must play. Finally, this new model also addresses the need to engage students as active participants in their learning and health.

CDC will be integrating this new model into its school health initiatives, placing ASCD’s whole child framework at the center of health and education alignment in school settings. For more information about CDC’s school health initiatives, visit www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth.

For more information about ASCD’s Whole Child Initiative, visit www.ascd.org/wholechild. To find out about ASCD’s focus on integrating learning and health visit www.ascd.org/learningandhealth. You can also find out more about ASCD’s other programs, products, services and memberships at www.ascd.org.


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