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Surgeon General Names LifeSkills Training One of the Most Effective School-based Programs

WHITE PLAINS, NY – Earlier this month, the U.S. Surgeon General released a new report on the addiction epidemic in this country asking communities to focus on evidence-based prevention. The report titled Facing Addiction in America: The Surgeon General's Report on Alcohol, Drugs, and Health named the Botvin LifeSkills Training (LST) program as an effective prevention program for adolescents aged 10 to 18.

The Surgeon General's Office reviewed nearly 600 programs and cited only 42 programs as evidence-based, that is - proven scientifically effective. LifeSkills Training was highlighted as one of three of the most effective school-based program for kids ages 10-18.

According to the report, effective prevention programs can delay early use, stop the progression to addiction, and avoid the need for treatment. After an extensive review of published research studies, the Surgeon General identified LST as a prevention program that successfully reduces the number of people who start using alcohol or drugs.  “One well-researched and widely used program is LifeSkills Training, a school-based program delivered over 3 years. Research has shown that this training delayed early use of alcohol, tobacco, and other substances...”

Over 30 years of rigorous research show LST as a method for preventing multiple problems—such as alcohol, tobacco, and illicit drug abuse, as well as delinquency and violence—using a single prevention program.  The centerpiece of the LST strategy is a curriculum designed to be taught by classroom teachers, health educators, prevention specialists, or student peer leaders.

"We know that effective prevention programs can produce a powerful public health benefit by reducing tobacco, alcohol, and illicit drug use. But this report also shows that evidence-based programs are highly underutilized," said Dr. Gilbert J. Botvin, professor emeritus at Cornell University's Weill Medical College and developer of the LST program. "Increased attention must be given to promoting the use of programs that work. A relatively small upfront investment in a proven prevention program such as LST can yield tremendous health and economic benefits."

More Information: Read the Surgeon General's report
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