WHITE PLAINS, NY – The Botvin LifeSkills Training (LST) program was featured at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA’s) recent 14th Annual Prevention Day on February 5, 2018. This annual event was held in conjunction with the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America’s (CADCA’s) 28th National Leadership Forum at National Harbor, MD.
LST was featured in a 90-minute Institute attended by prevention practitioners, community leaders, and behavioral health professionals gathered to hear from internationally known prevention expert Dr. Gilbert J. Botvin, developer of the LifeSkills Training (LST) program, founder and president of National Health Promotion Associates, and Professor Emeritus at Cornell University’s Weill Cornell Medical College. LST is a highly acclaimed, evidence-based substance abuse and violence prevention program that has been used in schools and communities throughout the US and in 39 countries around the world. Over 30 studies published in scientific journal show that LST can cut adolescent tobacco, alcohol, and illicit drug use by as much 80%.
Dr. Botvin described the LST approach and the underlying theory of this positive youth development approach to substance abuse prevention. He also summarized the research evidence documenting the effectiveness of LST for preventing tobacco use, underage drinking, and illicit drug use. Among the most exciting research findings were those showing that LST can prevent prescription drug abuse and teen opioid misuse. Further strengthening the potential impact of LST to prevent opioid misuse is a new opioid and prescription drug abuse prevention module available either online as an e-learning program or as a classroom program in print form.
Dr. Botvin was joined at the morning Institute by community prevention leaders who described the success of LST implementation in their communities and included Ronna Yablonski, Executive Director of Cambria County (PA) Drug Coalition and Kat Allen, Coalition Coordinator of CTC Partnership for Youth, a Program of the Franklin Regional Council of Governments (MA). Rounding out the Institute was Craig Zettle, Vice President at NHPA, who addressed critical issues related to long-term sustainability of implementing prevention programs that have been tested and proven effective.
Those attending learned the theory underlying LST, as well as evidence of its effectiveness. Speakers also covered important dissemination issues regarding the adoption, implementation, and sustainability in schools, family, and community settings.
“We’ve come a long way in the field of prevention, and now it’s really about a risk-focused approach. In fact, the LST program has been tested through 35 years of rigorous scientific research that identified these approaches as effective, producing lasting results, and with the potential to save taxpayers a good deal of money,” said Dr. Botvin. “Let’s stop drug abuse before it begins. Now is truly the time to unleash the power of prevention.”
The LifeSkills Training program has been extensively tested and proven effective at reducing tobacco, alcohol, opioid, and illicit drug use by as much as 80%. Long-term follow-up studies also show that it produces prevention effects that are durable and long-lasting.
CADCA’s National Leadership Forum is the largest training event for the prevention field. Attendees learn strategies to address substance abuse and hear from prevention experts, federal administrators, and concerned policymakers. The Forum brings together attendees representing coalitions from all regions of the country and internationally, government leaders, youth, prevention specialists, addiction treatment professionals, addiction recovery advocates, researchers, educators, law enforcement professionals, and faith-based leaders.