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About the Botvin LifeSkills Training (LST) Program

What is the Botvin LifeSkills Training program?  Botvin LifeSkills Training (LST) is an evidence-based substance abuse and violence prevention program used in schools and communities throughout the US and in 39 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 with different delivery formats, when taught by different providers, and when delivered to different populations. It also works with elementary school, middle school, and high school students. Long-term follow-up studies show that it produces prevention effects that are durable and long-lasting.

What are the main goals of the LST program?  The main goals of the LST program are to teach prevention-related information, promote anti-drug norms, teach drug refusal skills, and foster the development of personal self-management skills and general social skills.

How long is the LST program and how is it structured?
LST Elementary School program consists of 8 class sessions per year across all three years of upper elementary school.  The elementary program can be implemented over one, two, or three years, depending on the availability of time. It is designed to be implemented either as a stand-alone program or in combination with the Middle School program

The LST Middle School program is designed to be taught in sequence over three years in either middle or junior high school. The first year of the program has 15 class sessions (plus 3 optional violence prevention sessions), the second year contains 10 sessions (plus 2 optional violence prevention sessions), and the third year consists of 5 sessions (plus 4 optional violence prevention sessions).

The LST High School program comprises 10 class sessions. The LST Transitions program has 6 class sessions. Each program is typically taught in one year and can be used alone or as maintenance programs in combination with other LST programs.

Does the entire curriculum need to be taught for the program to be effective? In order to be optimally effective, the LST program must be implemented carefully and completely. If the material is only partially covered, studies have shown the program is likely to be less effective. Implementation fidelity means teaching every unit of the program, in the sequence provided, for the specific number of sessions. 

Fidelity is achieved by observing and practicing the following guidelines:

1.   Teach the full scope and sequence of the LST Curriculum. Teach all lessons in the order given, making all of the teaching points in each lesson.

2.   Teach at least one time per week for consecutive weeks until all units are taught. The curriculum may be taught as an intensive mini-series (consecutively every day, or two to three times a week), or it can be taught once a week.

3.   Use interactive teaching strategies. Students acquire skills when interactive teaching skills (coaching, facilitation, behavioral rehearsal, and feedback) are used.

4.   Implement using the LST program materials. Provide each teacher with a Teacher’s Manual and each student with his or her own Student Guide.

In what environment should LST be taught?  LST has been successfully taught in a variety of settings including school classrooms, after-school programs, summer camps, and community- and faith-based organizations.

Who should teach the LST program for it to be effective?  The LST program is easy to use and can be effectively implemented by teachers, school counselors, prevention specialists, community youth educators, and other program providers.

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