Dr. Botvin Keynotes International Congress in Barcelona

November 29, 2016

Dr. Gilbert J. Botvin delivered the keynote address at the 2nd International Congress of Clinical and Health Psychology on Children and Adolescents on November 17, 2016, in Barcelona. More than 700 participants from 50 countries gathered for the scientific meeting hosted by AITANA, a research group from the Department of Health Psychology at Miguel Hernández University in Elche, Spain.


Clinical and health psychologists from all over the world learned what makes the Botvin LifeSkills Training (LST) program the top-rated prevention program in the United States.  Dr. Botvin, professor emeritus at Cornell University’s Weill Medical College, is an internationally renowned prevention expert and developer of the highly acclaimed LST substance abuse and violence prevention program.

In his keynote, Dr. Botvin described the LST prevention approach, explained its theory, and summarized over 30 years of rigorous research documenting its effectiveness. He also discussed the unique benefits of LST as a method for preventing multiple problems—such as alcohol, tobacco, and illicit drug abuse, as well as opioid misuse, violence, and delinquency—using a single prevention approach.  The centerpiece of the LST strategy is a curriculum designed to be taught by classroom teachers, health educators, prevention specialists, or student peer leaders.

“It was a great honor and privilege to visit Barcelona and participate in a conference committed to improving the health and well-being of the world youth,” said Dr. Botvin. “I also want to commend AITANA for their support of the conference and dedication to life skills education.”

Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs and Health

November 28, 2016

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration announced the release of Facing Addiction in America: The Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs, and Health. This landmark report was developed as a collaboration between SAMHSA and the Office of the Surgeon General.

Recently, the U.S. Surgeon General Vivek H. Murthy published a landmark report on a health crisis affecting every community in our country. Facing Addiction in America: The Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs, and Health is a comprehensive review of the science of substance use, misuse, and disorders. The report is available online at Addiction.SurgeonGeneral.gov.   

WSJ: Schools Step Up Efforts to Fight Opioid Abuse

November 15, 2016
On Friday The Wall Street Journal featured an article and video highlighting the LifeSkills Training program. See below for the full article link and click the image to watch an interview with program developer Dr. Gilbert J. Botvin. 


wsjMany U.S. schools are ramping up campaigns to prevent opioid abuse among students as evidence mounts of a growing problem.

Some are inviting pharmacists to schools to convey the dangers of prescription pills. Others are offering emergency counseling via text message. In some regions, schools are teaching a substance-abuse-prevention program developed at Cornell University to students as young as fourth grade… Click to read full article

National Institute of Justice (NIJ) Rates School Safety Programs 

November 7, 2016

The National Institute of Justice (NIJ) has released “Find School Safety Programs on CrimeSolutions.gov.” This short video discusses how school, social services, and agencies can use the CrimeSolutions.gov clearinghouse to find evidence-based programs and practices that can improve school safety. The video also addresses the lack of strong evaluations of school safety programs that schools are implementing and investing in and how this presents an opportunity for research. pic.png

CrimeSolutions.gov includes almost 300 programs and practices on juvenile topics that are rated as Effective, Promising, or No Effects. Of the mere 21% rated as Effective, the Botvin LifeSkills Training program leads the way with multiple studies showing it effects on violence and delinquency prevention.

CrimeSolutions.gov programs can also be found on the U.S. Department of Justice’s, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention’s Model Programs Guide along with other evidence-based resources.


Violence Prevention: How necessary is it?

November 2, 2016

Rates of school violence in K-12 schools in the US are startling. A 2014 study found that the number of youth homicide victims could fill 89 school buses annually. And each year, the number of youth hospitalized for assault-related injuries is high enough to fill every seat within 9 football stadiums. These alarming statistics call for better prevention programs to decrease youth violence.violence.jpg

Many schools engage in secondary prevention methods such as metal detectors and police intervention programs. A literature review conducted by Hankin and Hertz (2011), however, concluded there were insufficient data to determine whether metal detectors were effective in reducing violence among adolescents in middle and high schools. And though many states have their own violence prevention programs such as the Gang Resistance Education and Training (G.R.E.A.T.) and Law-Related Education (L.R.E.), other programs such as Botvin LifeSkills Training (LST) have been shown to yield better results.

The CDC recommends evidence-based programs such as LST because of their proven effectiveness in reducing violence and drug use. A 2006 study conducted in New York City  found significant reduction in violence and delinquency amongst students who received LST compared to students who received standard health education provided by New York City public schools. Results from a 3-month follow up indicated that those who received the LST intervention (2,734 students) showed a 25.6% decrease in physical aggression compared to those who did not (2,484 students).

National Health Promotion Associates (NHPA) is currently conducting research on substance and violence prevention by evaluating LST in different cohort settings. One of the most popular and successful project conducted by NHPA is the middle school program that teaches self-management skills, general social skills, and drug resistance skills to 6-9th graders. The program is recognized by organizations such as the National Institute of Health, U.S. Department of Education, the National Registry of Evidence Based Programs and Practice, and many more. For more information on the program, click here.


Botvin, G. J., Griffin, K. W.,Nichols, T. R. (2006). Preventing youth violence and delinquency through a universal school-based prevention approach. Prevention Science, 7, 403-408. 

Center for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC] (2016). Youth violence: Risk and protective factors. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/youthviolence/riskprotectivefactors.html

David-Ferdon C, Simon TR. (2014). Taking Action to Prevent Youth Violence: A Companion Guide to Preventing Youth Violence: Opportunities for Action. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/youthviolence/pdf/opportunities-for-action-companion-guide.pdf

Gottfredson, D. C. (n.d.). Chapter 5 (R. Weissberg, Ed.). Retrieved October 31, 2016, from https://www.ncjrs.gov/works/chapter5.htm

Washington State Institute for Public Policy [WSIP] (2014). Cost-benefits results. Retrieved from: http://www.wsipp.wa.gov/BenefitCost.

Contributing Writer: Kevin Ng recently received a Bachelor of Science in Health Science and Public Health from Stony Brook University.

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