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LifeSkills Training Featured at International Conference


New York, NY (November 17, 2001) -- The LifeSkills Training program was recently featured as an exemplary drug abuse prevention program at a conference involving drug experts from the United States and Mexico. Christopher Williams, Ph.D., Vice President of National Health Promotion Associates, the training and development firm for the LST program, described new evidence for the effectiveness of the LST program and current initiatives to disseminate LST throughout the U.S. In addition to reducing tobacco and marijuana use by as much as 87%, newly published findings show that LST can cut binge drinking by over 50%.

The conference, held in Mexico City, was the Fourth U.S.-Mexico Bi-National Drug Demand Reduction Conference and was sponsored by the Executive Office of the President, Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP). Policy makers, government officials, researchers, community leaders, educators, and health professionals were invited on behalf of the United States and Mexican governments. The conference included bi-national research symposia; sessions linking public health and public safety; and extensive training on treatment, prevention and education, and public awareness. A main objective of the conference was to identify effective prevention approaches and focus on identifying ways to strengthen collaboration between the US and Mexico. Dr. Williams and other speakers at the conference emphasized the importance of using science-based prevention programs. According to Dr. Williams, "The growing body of research clearly indicates that prevention is a viable solution to the drug and alcohol use problem." He went on to say, "We have known for some time now what works in prevention. Today we need to concentrate our efforts on making sure research is moved into practice and that we share culturally appropriate programs with our Mexican neighbors."

Dr. Williams said that he is looking forward to the exchange of ideas between U.S. and Mexican officials. He commented, "We all know that it is essential for people to receive treatment if they are having a substance use problem, but we must also acknowledge that treatment is often very expensive with only limited evidence of success."

The presence of Mexico's President Fox and First Lady Marta Fox underscored the importance and commitment that Mexico is placing on the problem of drug use. The night before the final sessions were held, President Fox, along with Minister of Health, Julio Frenk Mora, M.D., hosted a dinner at El Palacio de La Escuela de Medicina, North America's very first medical school. In his opening remarks, the President congratulated his nearly 300 specially invited dinner guests and encouraged them to continue their efforts to reduce the use of drugs and alcohol in both countries.

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