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Cutting Substance Abuse by 87 Percent: Weill Cornell Program Wins Federal Award


New York, NY (May 25, 2000) -- LifeSkills Training (LST), a model program developed by Professor Gilbert J. Botvin of the Institute for Prevention Research at Weill Medical College of Cornell University, which reduces tobacco, alcohol, and drug use in young people by up to 87 percent, has received an Exemplary Substance Abuse Prevention Program Award from the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention (CSAP) of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

LST focuses on middle and junior high school students. It is based on the belief that substance use is a learned behavior that is reinforced by family members, peers, and the media. It attempts to reduce adolescent vulnerability to substance abuse by addressing cognitive, behavioral, attitudinal, and social factors. It employs skills training to increase self-esteem, develop interpersonal relationships, manage emotions, improve tolerance of stress, and teach effective communication.

Rigorously tested over the past 20 years, LST has reduced tobacco, alcohol, and drug use in white, Hispanic, and African-American adolescents by up to 87 percent. A three-year program, it has measurable impacts on drug use lasting to the end of 12th grade for students who received the program in grades 7, 8, and 9.

Gilbert J. Botvin, Ph.D., Professor of Public Health and Psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College, designed LST. He said he was "delighted" by the award. Ruth Sanchez-Way, Acting Director of CSAP, said, "We reviewed prevention programs nationwide. After this comprehensive review process, we are now proud to recognize the exemplary substance abuse prevention programs that are making a difference in the field."

Jonathan Weil, Ph.D.
Director of Publications
Office of Public Affairs

212-821-0566, 0560
212-821-0576 (fax)

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